Subj: EW: Science Clones First Human Embryo
Date: 11/26/01 12:47:52 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: (eWarrior (Kurt Jonach))


The Electric Warrior : News November 26, 2001

technology news

*** Two breakthrough technologies bring human cloning one
step closer to reality ***

A US company has successfully produced the first human cloned
embryo, an accomplishment they pursued in the interest of
medical science. The announcement raised ethical concerns
about reproductive cloning, the creation of a human clone.

"Our intention is not to create cloned human beings, but rather
to make lifesaving therapies for a wide range of human disease
conditions," said Dr. Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology

On November 25, the privately held Massachusetts biotechnology
company simultaneously published their research in The Journal
of Regenerative Medicine, and online in Scientific American.

VP of Research Joe Cibelli, who led the research, says ACT
used nuclear transplantation, a process which injects DNA from
the nucleus of a human skin cell into a human egg. The same
classic cloning technique was used for Dolly the sheep.

The company says their cloning technology could ultimately be
used as a source of embryonic stem cells, a kind of master cell
that can be grown into any kind of cell in the human body.

ACT considered the ethical implications of cloning by
consulting a board of outside ethicists, who weighed the moral
implications of their therapeutic cloning research. They say
their research is distinct from reproductive cloning, and that
they support restrictions on cloning for reproductive purposes.

"We believe that reproductive cloning has potential risks to
both mother and fetus that make it unwarranted at this time,"
wrote ACT authors in an online article for Scientific American.


Advanced Cell Technology also reported a second breakthrough,
the ability to cause a human egg to divide into an early embryo,
without being either fertilized by a sperm, or being enucleated
by injection.

The editor-in-chief of Scientific American stopped short of
describing the process of parthenogenesis as a virgin conception,
but said it was in the same vein.

"They were able to show that by taking a certain stage of the
human egg cell and by treating it, they were able to make it
develop into an early stage embryo without it ever being
fertilized at all," John Rennie told Reuters. "That is an
amazing accomplishment in its own right and, like cloning,
something that people once thought was impossible in mammals."

ACT CEO Dr. Michael West told NBC's Meet the Press,
"Scientifically, biologically, the entities we are creating
are not an individual. They're only cellular life. They're not
a human life."

West also said that the embryo could possibly have grown into
a human being, had it been placed into a woman's womb.


Earlier this year President Bush ruled that federal funds can
not be used for human cloning, but only for embryonic stem cell
research. For the time being, Advanced Cell Technology, a
privately funded company, can do as it pleases.

Responding to ACT's research, the White House reiterated that
Bush remains 100% against such work.

Pending federal regulations are one of the reasons the company
moved so swiftly to report preliminary findings, even before
verifying their application to embryonic stem cells.

"Given that we have regulations in the United States that
prevent (cloning), we felt that we should go forward and publish
this scientific result so scientists can have this data," West
told CNN.

Whereas several states, including California, have already
banned human cloning, Congress is still considering a ban.
Political leaders from both parties were quick to respond to
the latest scientific news.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) thought
the reports were disconcerting. "I think it's going in the
wrong direction," he told Fox News.

On Meet the Press, Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) said,
"I believe it will be perhaps a big debate, but at the end of
the day I don't believe that we're going to let the cloning of
human embryos go on."


The First Human Cloned Embryo
(Scientific American) After months of trying, on October 13,
2001, we came into our laboratory at Advanced Cell Technology
to see under the microscope what we’d been striving for—little
balls of dividing cells not even visible to the naked eye.
Insignificant as they appeared, the specks were precious because
they were, to our knowledge, the first human embryos produced
using the technique of nuclear transplantation, otherwise
known as cloning.

Important Milestone in Therapeutic Cloning
(Press Release) Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (ACT) today
announced publication of its research on human somatic cell
nuclear transfer and parthenogenesis.  The report, published
in today’s Journal of Regenerative Medicine, provides the
first proof that reprogrammed human cells can supply tissue
for transplantation.

U.S. Company Clones Human Embryo for Cells
(Reuters) It is the first time anyone has reported successfully
cloning a human embryo, and biotechnology company Advanced Cell
Technology Inc. (ACT), based in Worcester, Massachusetts, said
it hopes the experiment will lead to tailored treatments for
diseases...the announcement quickly drew criticism from those
fearing the step would lead to the cloning of a human being.

November 26, 2001
Silicon Valley, CA

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