Archive by category | Ethics

No cloning license for stem cell fraudster

New Scientist is reporting that South Korea has refused disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk request to resume work to make stem cells from cloned embryos. Nature’s Asia correspondent tells me no Korean institute has been approved to do human nuclear transfer (human cloning to make embryonic stem cells but not new people) since the Korean health ministry revoked Hwang’s license in early 2006.  Read more

Some NIH Registry Lines Fall Outside Informed Consent Guidelines

UPDATE: When reporting this last week, I was told that Stanford had made a decision to disallow certain lines but had not announced it. On Monday, I received a note that Stanford had not reached a final decision. Please see the end of the blog for this full notice.  Read more

Ian Wilmut’s move from cloning: getting practical with iPS

The scientist that helped clone Dolly the sheep has moved away from cloning and toward making embryonic-like stem cells without eggs. The shift is described in an article and interview in Scientific American. Wilmut (and others) think that iPS cells might one day replace ES cells for clinical applications and drug-testing applications, but no one thinks that day is now here. Bits of the SciAm articles are floating around the blogosphere, but these (willfully?) strip away some of the nuances, so it’s worth reading the full articles from the source. I also think that the article conflated and neglected a few ideas, which I’ll outline below.  Read more

What got funded: statistics on California’s new stem cell line grants

The California scientists most likely to receive state grants for making new cell lines were those who proposed comparing embryonic stem cell lines and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines. Overall, thirty-two percent of all grant applications (16 of 50) were funded. Four of the five grants that proposed comparisons got funds. The unfunded grant application crossed into less favored categories, as it also proposed making lines from parthenotes and through nuclear transfer. None of the grant applications that sought to make cell lines using human oocytes were funded. Two proposed cloning through nuclear transfer, one proposed stimulating unfertilized eggs to divide into parthenotes, and one application proposed using both methods.  Read more

Stem-cell society condemns undocumented human treatments without oversight

The ISSCR today condemned unproven stem-cell treatments that are not designed to learn and report information and that are conducted without oversight, particularly if patients are charged for advertised medical services. Originally a task force within the ISSCR was supposed to release a draft of guidelines on Thursday. After disagreements about how specific the guidelines should be and how stringent a tone to take, the group decided instead to announce over-arching principles at its annual meeting.  Read more

Cloning by reprogramming?

“Now we have the technology that can make a cloned child” reads the headline of the most-read article in the Independent right now. But the article does not actually break any news, nor does it use the common method of cloning; rather it discusses a well-understood implication of that recent reprogramming breakthroughs might yield yet another weird way of making a baby.  Read more

Brits report making hybrid cow-human embryo

Newcastle University says researchers led by Lyle Armstrong have made hybrid embryos containing material from cows and humans. The announcement comes just as the government gears up on whether or not the creation of such embryos should be legal. Newcastle University, which already had approval for the research from UK regulatory authorities, decided to push forward so the research would not risk being stalled by an upcoming vote in the House of Commons, reports the BBC.  Read more

Former head of Bush council on bioethics says make embryos for research–in five years

The former head of President Bush’s council on bioethics, now says there shouldn’t be a ban against cloning human embryos for research. Instead, there should be a five-year moratorium against the process. Writing in the Weekly Standard, Leon Kass decries the fact that the US Congress did not pass a law blocking all forms of human cloning, and then says that this stricter form of the law is unnecessary now that researchers can turn to alternate ways of reprogramming.  Read more