Cloned Fetus Provides New Tissues – Part 2

Date: 06/04/2002

Researchers at Advanced Cell Technology say they have successfully transplanted in cows tissues derived from cloning. But they did NOT use so-called “therapeutic” cloning – i.e., they did not use undifferentiated stem cells derived from days old cloned embryos in a petri dish. Instead, they in effect resorted to “reproductive” cloning, by first cloning the cow embryos, then implanting them in wombs; growing them up to eight weeks (fetal stage) and then destroying them to obtain more developed, differentiated tissues.

For this reason ACT said the procedure would not be appropriate for humans. But in light of this experiment it is worth recalling the warning, given in Senate testimony almost 3 months before this latest development was revealed, of Stuart Newman, a professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy at New York Medical College:

“Cloning embryos for producing embryo stem cells will, by failing to deliver on its promises, inevitably lead to calls to extend the lifespan of clonal embryos so as to permit harvesting developmentally more advanced cells and tissues for research and potential therapies…[O]nce we have clonal embryos for a while and gotten use to the idea, who would turn a deaf ear to calls by patients and their loved ones for superior therapeutics? And once stem cell harvesting from two-month clonal embryos was in place, who could resist pleas to extend the timeframe so that liver and bone marrow could be obtained from six month clonal fetuses…Short of saying no to embryo cloning, any line that you draw will be a moving boundary (Testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Subcommittee on Health, 3/5/02).