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scientists respond to an application to use therapeutic cloning to study Motor Neurone Disease

As Ian Wilmut submits his application for a license to perform therapeutic cloning to the HFEA, scientists respond.

Professor Alison Murdoch, Chair of British Fertility Society and Head of Newcastle Centre for Life, who had a successful therapeutic cloning license application earlier this year, said:

“There is such a lot of work to do on this field and the more people doing research, the sooner we will get the answers and the sooner we will have treatments. I support this therapeutic cloning application and hope they will be successful. This is not a disadvantage to our project or competition but a great opportunity to share information and further the field.”

John Gillot, spokesperson for Genetic Interest Group, said:

“This is clearly early stage research and a treatment is clearly not just around the corner, however, it is no less important for that. For a number of years it has been suggested that this use may be one of the fruitful applications of therapeutic cloning. Hopefully this team will be able to begin to explore how much this is the case.”

Prof Robin Lovell-Badge, Head of Division, Developmental Genetics for the National Institute for Medical Research (Medical Research Council), said:

“This approach should allow us to study genetic disease without having to use humans as guinea pigs, or indeed, Guinea Pigs as humans. There are many diseases, like Motor Neurone Disease, where we do not understand the cause or development of the disease. In these cases, having the opportunity to study stem cells, which correspond to the individual patient, offers a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the disease and to find treatments.”

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