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Cloning method yields embryonic stem cells

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 27, 2013

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Researchers reported in the journal Cell that they successfully cloned donated skin cells into an embryo from which they harvested stem cells matched to the donor.

The method, known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, may help scientists understand and develop treatments for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. The stem cells derived through the process can convert into different cell types such as liver cells, heart cells and nerve cells, said a study in the May 15 issue (link).

“While there is much work to be done in developing safe and effective stem cell treatments, we believe this is a significant step forward in developing the cells that could be used in regenerative medicine,” said Shoukhrat Mitalipov, PhD, the study’s lead author.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voiced its opposition to the research. “Human cloning treats human beings as products, manufactured to order to suit other people’s wishes,” said Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston and chair of the conference’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

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