Americans to Ban Cloning

Refute the Lie, Don’t Clone It

Date: 09/18/2002

Jim Kelly, Patient Advocate for Spinal Cord Injury Treatment

Americans are being misled to their suffering and death for the sake of commercial, scientific, and political agendas.

A non-stop campaign of misinformation and ungrounded hype claims America’s best hope for cures lay in “therapeutic” cloning. I’m paralyzed from the chest down, with my life and dreams depending on the successful, efficient use of medical research resources. So it’s not in my interests to grab at straws instead of looking at scientifically proven facts. The facts are these:

  • Cloning of any type, including “therapeutic” cloning or SCNT, results in widespread, unpredictable genetic flaws on multiple levels in every stem cell it aims to create. One of these flaws, called imprinting errors, has been shown in peer-reviewed studies to form malignant tumors when embryonic stem cells with imprinting defects were injected into adult mice. In speaking of this single genetic hurdle, the creator of Dolly the Sheep says:“It should keep a lot of us in business for a long time.” Yet this very issue is partially responsible for reproductive cloning causing birth defects, stunted growth, and premature death. And because of this single hurdle, MIT Genetic Researcher Rudolf Jaenish admits he believes reproductive cloning can “never” be made to be safe. Apparently Dr. Jaenisch feels therapeutic cloning can be safe if Cancer is cured, because the two go hand in hand.
  • Cloning is being promoted as a means of avoiding immune rejection of transplanted cells. This is totally false. Experts have known all along that cloning will not reliably avoid rejection. Cells derived from cloning (SCNT) do notperfectly match their donor, as is widely misrepresented, because mitochondria of cloning-derived stem cells come from the egg. And these mitochondria contain the egg’s DNA. In testifying to the President’s Council of Bioethics, Dr. John Gearhart of John Hopkins said there was “no question” in his mind that embryonic stem cells derived from cloning “could be rejected. Absolutely.” Stanford’s Irv Weissman explained:“I should say that when you put the nucleus in from a somatic cell, the mitochondria still come from the host (the egg).” He concluded, “And in mouse studies it is clear that those genetic differences can lead to a mild but certainly effective transplant rejection and so immunosuppression, mild though it is, will be required for that.”More recently Gearhart said that cloning may not be the savior of embryonic stem-cell therapies after all.“I don’t know that nuclear transfer (cloning) is going to be the answer to getting around the immune response question.”Instead he believes that researchers should engineer stem cells that would avoid immune rejection in larger numbers of people, because tailor-made treatments (through cloning) would be too expensive.

The simple truth is that therapeutic cloning is a colossal sham designed to draw crucial research resources down a fruitless path with no end in sight. Before we travel this barren path we already know it won’t lead to the “promise” being primary used to justify our taking a single unnecessarily step: avoiding immune rejection.

Furthermore, we know without a doubt that cloning adds massive genetic problems to those inherently involved when implanting embryonic cells in adult tissues. Since these defects include (but are by no means limited to) the misexpression of genes known to control early embryonic development and the unfolding of the genetic code, one can’t help questioning the credibility of claims that cloning “might” reliably provide material to study genetic defects. However, without a doubt , “therapeutic” cloning will eventually provide genetically defective, unmatched cells needing decades of “astronomically” expensive research (according to Stem Cell Pioneer Dr. John Thomson) to explore their problems before any clinical “promise” can safely be addressed.

For the sake of cures, truth, and humanity, please send the message that America’s sick and disabled are much more than fodder for the advancement of commercial and research agendas under the pretext of looking for cures. Refute the therapeutic cloning lie, don’t clone it.

James Kelly is a 46 year-old pro-cures research advocate with spinal cord injury. He explores peer-reviewed medical journals for research avenues having strong practical potentials for leading to cures. He then encourages the researchers involved to communicate and collaborate towards bringing their work from bench to bedside. Mr. Kelly supports synergistic contact between innovative researchers, clinicians, investors, and non-profit funding.