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Therapeutic cloning may be permitted at Newcastle University

atient.

Dr. Stojkovic explained that he plans to perform the cloning of dozens of embryos using the same technique employed by the scientists who created Dolly the sheep in 1997. The project will use cloned embryos to create insulin-producing cells that can be transplanted into people suffering from diabetes.

The procedure involves reprogramming cells from skin tissue of a patient who has lost important cells through disease or injury. The re-programmed cells will re-grow as the cells needed by that patient. For a child with diabetes this could then mean that he or she would not need to take insulin or any other medicines and would effectively be cured.

The process requires the nucleus from a skin cell to be removed and placed into an unfertilized egg. This egg is then stimulated to divide until a group of cells form. Stem cells are then isolated from this group and have the potential to grow into any cell type in the body. If directed to make insulin cells, a cure would be achieved.

Professor Alison Murdoch who leads the Newcastle Fertility Center at Life said that eggs would be donated for this research by patients undergoing treatment for fertility at the Center. Professor Murdoch said, "we are very grateful to all those patients who help with this research. Although the studies will not directly help them, they are playing a vital role in helping other patients."

Alastair Balls, chief executive for the Center for Life said, "This is undoubtedly one of the most important areas of research in human fertility and genetics capable of having a transformational effect on medical treatments. It is great news that Newcastle through the combination of the University, the NHS Trust and the Center is able to be one of the world leaders in this field.


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Contact: Chris Pook
Chris.Pook@fco.gov.uk
202-588-6674
British Information Services
17-Jun-2004


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