The ACT EAB has been kept fully informed of the research to be reported in the July edition of Nature Biotechnology on the generation of immunologically compatible tissues using nuclear transplantation. We believe that this research represents an important milestone in demonstrating the feasibility of new therapies of tissue and organ repair that could benefit millions of people.
We wish to emphasize that this research, which was done under the supervision and ethical review of a separate Animal Care and Use Committee, differs in one important respect from the kind of human therapeutic cloning research undertaken by ACT and approved by the EAB. It uses cloned bovine fetuses of 5-6 weeks' gestational age. The ethical rules for humans and livestock animals are different. While the reported research is appropriate in animal studies, it should never be done in human beings. Strict guidelines established by the EAB in conformity with international standards for human embryo research prohibit the culturing of any human embryo in vitro for more than 14 days of development and prohibit any attempt to implant an embryo resulting from nuclear transplantation into a uterus. The longer period of development allowed in the bovine experiments was needed because bovine embryonic stem (ES) cells capable of differentiating into specified tissue have not yet been isolated. However, human and primate ES cells taken from blastocysts have been successfully differentiated in vitro into derivatives of all cell types.
The members of the ACT EAB support legislation proposed by Senators Specter, Feinstein, Hatch, Kenned
Contact: Ronald M. Green, Ph.D.
Advanced Cell Technology