Therapeutic cloning could collapse without it.
therapeutic cloning, which requires eggs to create embryos and human embryonic
stem cells, appears to be fading in popularity amongst top stem cell
scientists, some are still pushing the cause hard. In California, scientists
and biotech entrepreneurs want to change the law to allow them to buy eggs.
"You need to have enough eggs to make this thing work, and when you have
enough eggs it does work," said Dr. Sam Wood, chief executive of the La
Jolla company Stemagen.
It is particularly
frustrating there, as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine was
created in 2004 to dole out US$3 billion in taxpayers’ funds, principally for
embryonic stem cell research. But buying the essential ingredient was
specifically banned. This makes the research it was created to do quite problematic.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle,
the CIRM’s president, Dr Alan Trounson, believes that research into therapeutic
cloning is “floundering" for lack of eggs. And in fact, a Stemagen proposal
to work on therapeutic cloning was turned down because it could not source the
In the meantime,
scientists seem to be turning towards reprogrammed stem cells, which do not
involve the potentially dangerous procedure of harvesting eggs from women or
the destruction of embryos. "Do we really want to put women at risk to
provide raw materials for research a lot of scientists say really isn’t the way
to go?" asks Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society. ~ San
Francisco Chronicle, July 31
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