Feeds

Scientists hail stem cell breakthrough

Therapeutic cloning advance

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Scientists in South Korea have successfully produced stem cells by cloning embryos that are genetically identical to specific individuals.

The research team has created 11 new lines of stem cells by implanting genetic material from patients into donated eggs, successfully demonstrating the principle of therapeutic cloning, whereby tailored stem cells could be used to repair damaged tissue, or to otherwise treat diseases without problems of rejection.

The team, headed by Professor Hwang Woo-suk, produced the world's first cloned human embryos last year. In that experiment, they only managed to culture stem cells from one of the embryos, having started with 242 donated eggs. The clones were also exact replicas of the egg donors, rather than third parties.

This time, however, the researchers extracted DNA from the skin cells of volunteers - patients aged between 2 and 56, and suffering from a variety of illnesses from diabetes to spinal injuries. The eggs' original DNA was removed and replaced with the samples from the volunteers, a process called nuclear transference that was pioneered by the team that made Dolly the sheep. The stem cells are harvested when the embryos are just six days old.

The team began with 185 eggs, produced 31 embryos and collected stem cells from 11 of those.

Professor Hwang told the Financial Times that South Korea had established its world leading position in the research field because of the supportive political and social attitudes in the country. He contrasted this with attitudes in Europe and the US, where stem cell research is a highly controversial subject. He also said that the availability of eggs from fertile donors was an important factor in his success.

He went on to describe the breakthrough as "a giant step forward towards the day when some of mankind's most devastating diseases and injuries can be effectively treated through the use of therapeutic stem cells", the paper reports.

While many in the scientific community have acclaimed Professor Hwang's breakthrough, pro-life campaigners are less impressed, saying that experiments on human life have no place in a civilised society. Others called for more research into alternative sources of stem cells. ®

Related stories

New guidelines complicate US stem cell research
Whiskery stem cells grow skin, muscles and neurons
Oz boffins grow stem cells from nose

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?