Stemcell debate info

June 7th, 2007

The issue of therapeutic cloning has been in the news lately. There has been a lot of debate over whether the laws should be passed to allow Embryonic stemcells to be used in cloning to find cures for diseases like Motor Neurone Disease and Type 1 Diabetes.

On both sides of the issue has been a lot of talk whether it is right or wrong or if this is the path we should be going down medically, scientifically and socially.

To be honest I am not right across this issue. I have only done a small amount of reading on it, so I am not expert. One thing I did find useful was an article in todays local paper “The West Australian“. On page 11 it has a simple diagram that explains the process and how it is done. I found it useful to at least have some idea on what everyone it talking about.

Here is the process of therapeutic cloning…

  1. Nucleus containing genetic information is removed from egg.
  2. Genetic information from an adult cell is implanted into the empty egg.
  3. Embryo begins to grow and divide as if it has been fertilised by a sperm.
  4. At the blastocyst state (about 100 cells), stemcells could be taken for medical research. (Apparently a stemcell can go on to become any type of cell in the body depending on how it is treated).
  5. Scientists hope stemcell research will one day allow custom-made transplants to sure degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease and Diabetes. New cells implanted would be identical to his or her own so would not be rejected by the body.

A couple of others points from the articles that stuck in my mind is that once the stemcell is fertised it could potentially grow into a human if it was inserted into a unterus and that all of the Embryos have to be distroyed after 14 days.

I thought I would pass this information on because it helped me to have a little more insight into what the debate is all about. If you get a chance I would encourage you to have a look at the West Australian articles.