The truth about the goal of researchers seeking to make chimeras and clones is in the news, today. (A big “yuk” factor, here.)
I’m convinced that the future is in stimulating and recruiting the patient’s own stem cells and regenerative potential, in site, where and when it’s needed.
Animal research is acceptable, but once they start manipulating human DNA, we’re dealing with humans until proven differently.
The (South) Korean Times reports on work in the lab of Koo Deog-bon:
The team, headed by Koo Deog-bon at the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, said Friday they had established a monkey blastocyst, the source of stem cells, last month via interspecies nuclear transfer.
“We started the task of infusing monkey somatic cells into cow ova, from which the nuclei had been removed, last November. After hundreds of failures, we made a blastocyst in January,” Koo said.
“It failed to thrive. But we became sure of the potential of interspecies research _ creating a blastocyst and extracting stem cell batches from it,” the 41-year-old senior researcher said.
A blastocyst is an embryonic form at a stage where it consists of 128 cells. With its inner cells still undifferentiated, the blastocyst is the most important source of embryonic stem cells.
Scientists have made monkey blastocysts through intra-species nuclear transfer _ implanting monkey somatic cells into enucleated monkey ova. But this is the first time that a blastocyst has been established while using non-monkey ova.
“We will generate more monkey blastocysts to achieve our goals of culturing stem cell lines with them earlier than our competitors,” said Koo at the state-backed institute.
Developing cloned non-human primate stem cells is significant in speeding up futuristic therapy by evaluating the pre-clinical safety and immune-tolerance of stem cell transplantation.
“If we are successful, we will be able to apply the technologies to humans _ making stem cells with animal ova _ if society allows such an idea,” Koo said.
As Koo pointed out, the interspecies experiments can in part solve some of the ethical debates surrounding the making of cloned human embryonic stem cells because they don’t use human eggs.