First Ever-Scientists Create Human Embryos to Make Stem Cells
What happens when the law is broken and clones are made?
By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
May 15, 2013, 5:43 p.m.
For the first time, scientists have created human embryos that are genetic copies of living people and used them to make stem cells — a feat that paves the way for treating a range of diseases with personalized body tissues but also ignites fears of human cloning.
If replicated in other labs, the methods detailed Wednesday in the journal Cell would allow researchers to fashion human embryonic stem cells that are custom-made for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and other health problems.
Theoretically capable of reproducing themselves indefinitely, these stem cells could be used to grow replacements for a wide variety of diseased cells — those of the blood, skin, heart, brain, muscles, nerves and more — that would not risk rejection by the patient’s immune system.
The report also raises the specter that, with a high-quality donor egg, a bit of skin, some careful tending in a lab and the womb of a willing surrogate, humans have cracked the biological secret to reproducing themselves.