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Thursday, 6 April, 2000, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
Embryo cloning: head to head

Stem cell research could produce treatments
Should human embryo cloning be allowed?Two organisations with opposing views discuss a controversial recommendation.

Robert Meadowcroft, director of policy, resources and information, Parkinson's Disease Society.

The Government is expected to receive advice on this issue in the near future from an independent expert committee, and a subsequent decision will determine whether or not research into therapeutic cloning can be resumed. The Parkinson's Disease Society (PDS) would welcome a decision to both allow the resumption of research into 'therapeutic cloning' and to reaffirm that reproductive cloning is wholly unacceptable.

Therapeutic cloning offers a tremendous opportunity to researchers to one day develop dopamine producing nerve cells from stem cells which could then help people with Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's can have a devastating impact upon someone's life.

Therapeutic cloning techniques may provide an effective treatment for Parkinson's in the future.

Parkinson's patients don't make enough of a body chemical called dopamine.

If dopamine producing cells can be developed then the dopamine deficiency that leads to the symptoms of Parkinson's could be reversed, and the condition could be effectively controlled.

Josephine Quintavalle, director of the Comment on Reproductive Ethics.

That the Nuffield Council of Ethics approves of scavenging cells from living human embryos is sadly not surprising, and highlights the totally unethical nature of this organisation.

Vague mention of respect for the embryo is the ultimate hypocrisy - embryos are destroyed by therapeutic cloning.

What should seriously alrm the country, apart from the existence of such a pro-cloning mafia, is that the Nuffield Council seems to be incredibly ignorant even about the science of their proposals.

It is neither necessary nor good science to go along the path of embryonic stem cell technology.

All the benefits from spare part tissue creation can be achieved from the development of adult stem cell technology, and we look forward to the day when all those suffering from the various diseases likely to benefit from tissue replacement are offered this exciting and ethical possibility.

The most significant aspect of adult stem cell technology (apart from sparing the defenceless embryo) is that the required cells are taken and cultured from the patient himself and therefore there is no risk of rejection.

We're not saying no to tissue replacement therapy - we're saying do it the right and best way.

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See also:

06 Apr 00 | Health
Experts back embryo research
02 Jun 99 | Health
Cells used to test drugs
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