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Mike West

Photo: Courtesy of Advanced Cell Technology In these days of rampant science phobia, a researcher associated with human cloning risks being linked to the few renegade scientists claiming to already have done the deed. Mike West's quest as president and CEO of Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) in Worcester, Mass., is not to clone dinosaurs or replace children, but to customize cells to rebuild degenerating or injured human tissue. The company's late 2001 announcement1 that it had created a human

Ricki Lewis
Photo: Courtesy of Advanced Cell Technology

In these days of rampant science phobia, a researcher associated with human cloning risks being linked to the few renegade scientists claiming to already have done the deed. Mike West's quest as president and CEO of Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) in Worcester, Mass., is not to clone dinosaurs or replace children, but to customize cells to rebuild degenerating or injured human tissue.

The company's late 2001 announcement1 that it had created a human embryo by transfer of a somatic cell nucleus to an enucleated egg attracted media attention, including a Business Week profile of West headlined "Cloning: Huckster or Hero?" No mention was made of the company's contributions to basic developmental biology2-4 or pro bono work on endangered species.5 West tries not to let it get to him. "I have a thick skin, but it hurts. There are days that...

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