Singapore has joined the small group of nations which have legalised therapeutic cloning. The new law allows scientists to create human embryos for stem-cell research. They must be destroyed at 14 days. Amongst the other countries which have explicitly authorised the cloning of embryos for research are Britain, Japan and China. No companies are currently carrying out research cloning in Singapore at the moment.
MPs praised the new law for offering the prospect of cures for patients and economic benefits for Singapore. “Therapeutic cloning offers hope to victims of heart diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, spinal cord injury and other debilitating diseases,” said MP Chong Weng Chiew. Another MP noted that the world market for Alzheimer’s drugs is US$1.3 billion and is expected to climb to $3 billion in 2008. (The MPs’ focus on Alzheimer’s is odd, as scientists agree that this disease is one of the least likely to be cured with stem cell therapies when they are developed.)
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