Biopharmaceutical researchers fear how pending federal legislation outlawing the cloning of human cells will restrict their abilities to find cures for major degenerative diseases.1,2 Some also see lawmakers impinging on established nonhuman cloning techniques essential for the discovery of new drugs and therapies.

The source of all this worry? The US House of Representatives passed July 31 by a wide margin a bill (H.R. 2505) sponsored by Reps. David Weldon (R-Fla.) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) that would ban the cloning of human cells for reproduction as well as for research. Of particular concern to scientists, the bill outlaws somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) using human cells, a mechanism required in the new field of regenerative medicine. Potential uses for such therapeutic cloning include creating immune-compatible replacement tissue for diseased organs, such as the heart and pancreas, and treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Scientists, ethicists, and...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?