Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Leading scientists to discuss research applications for therapeutic cloning


University of Pittsburgh’s Gerald Schatten, Ph.D., joins South Korean researchers for symposium at 60th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine

As members of the United Nations General Assembly are soon to vote on the future of cloning research, possibly within days, leading scientists will be conducting a symposium discussion on the status of current work in cloning and its potential for the emerging field of regenerative medicine.

Gerald Schatten, Ph.D., professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences and cell biology and physiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, will join South Korean researchers Woo Suk Hwang, D.V.M., Ph.D., and Shin Yong Moon, M.D., in a panel discussion of scientific and ethical issues surrounding cloning research on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the 60th annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Scientific sessions will take place Oct. 16-20 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

In February, Drs. Hwang and Moon from Seoul National University, reported the successful harvesting of human embryonic stem cells from a cloned embryo. The cloning symposium, called "Assisted Regenerative Medicine: The Future of ART?" and chaired by Linda Giudice, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University, will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 20. "Human reproductive cloning is unsafe, unethical and ought to be illegal everywhere in the world," said Dr. Schatten, who also is director of the Pittsburgh Development Center at the Magee-Womens Research Institute. "But a ban on all forms of human cloning sends the wrong signal to the scientific community; it stigmatizes the research and will slow the pace of discoveries for decades to come."

Dr. Schatten, who testified before U.N. delegates on the issue in June, is close to the debate because he has been trying to clone primates, which belong to the same overall species classification as humans. The implications of any success for the prospects of human cloning are clear, and Dr. Schatten is exploring ways to make sure that if he succeeds, others won’t be able to use his work to advance human cloning for reproductive purposes.

In the U.N., the United States is pressing for a ban on all forms of human cloning, while Belgium heads a faction seeking a ban on reproductive cloning but with the option for countries to approve therapeutic cloning. In 2001, Britain became the first country to legalize research cloning. Researchers hope stem cells derived from therapeutic cloning research will revolutionize medicine by providing better treatments for disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, spinal cord injuries and genetic diseases.

While the hopes are real, scientific findings remain ambiguous concerning actual benefits for patients using stem cells for therapeutic purposes. "Will therapeutic cloning create immune matching? It’s unclear. At this point, we don’t even know if human embryonic stem cells are safe, let alone effective," said Dr. Schatten. "What’s important is that research be allowed to continue so we can find out."

Currently, conflicting policies internationally allow different stages of research in human and animal cloning in different countries. The United Kingdom restricts animal work but allows research on human embryos. In the United States, animal work is allowed but work on human embryonic stem cells is restricted to cell lines in existence prior to Aug. 9, 2001. Related legislation varies from state to state, with Pennsylvania being among the most restrictive. South Korea allows therapeutic cloning research but human reproductive cloning is illegal there.

"Perhaps, in a similar fashion to debates surrounding organ donation, it will be challenging to achieve political consensus until the therapeutic benefits of cloning research are clearly demonstrated," said Dr. Schatten, calling for responsible legislation in the United States and warning that a ban on all cloning research could simply move the science offshore or to privately funded efforts not subject to U.S. regulation. Responsible clinical trials also need to be held soon, perhaps by 2008, Dr. Schatten adds.

Michele Baum | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

First results of NSTX-U research operations

26.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica

26.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>