Scientists given cloning go-ahead
British scientists have been given permission to perform therapeutic cloning using human embryos for the first time.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority granted the licence to experts at the University of Newcastle.
They warn it will be at least five years – if not many more – before patients could receive stem cell treatments based on their work.
Therapeutic cloning has been legal in Britain since 2001.
It is carried out for medical reasons. Even though the science is similar, the technique is different to reproductive cloning, which aims to create a human being.
The cloning technique, known as cell nuclear replacement (CNR) involves removing the nucleus of a human egg cell and replacing it with the nucleus from a human body cell, such as a skin cell.
The egg is then artificially stimulated. This causes the egg to divide and behave in a similar way to a standard embryo fertilised by sperm.
I don’t understand what they will do with the cloned cells. Lets look at the graphic below:
Once they have the stem cells how do they introduce or give them to the patient? I guess that will be a key factor. Will they use a virus to spread the new cells in the body (like gene theraphy)?
Will the immune system of the patient attack the new cells? Will they need drugs to inhibit their immune response?