Therapeutic cloning can also cure!Monday, 24 March, 2008
Researchers have used therapeutic cloning to cure Parkinson’s disease in mice. This is a landmark study, published in Nature Medicine, because the embryonic stem cells were cloned from the patients that they later cured.
The researchers, led by a team at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, USA, used the classic cloning technique – somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). The nuclei from skin cells from the tail of the mice were inserted into anucleated ova, to create the cloned mouse embyros from which the stem cells were derived. The stem cells were differentiated into the dopaminergic neurons of the basal ganglia that are damaged in Parkinson’s.
Test animals were artificially given Parkinson’s disease, whereby the above-mentioned dopaminergic neurons were lesioned by chemicals. The neurons derived above were transplanted into the basal ganglia of the mice. Those mice that were treated with neurons derived from embryos cloned from their own tail recovered well within eleven weeks, but those receiving neurons from other stem cells lines were not significantly better eleven weeks later. This confirmed the advantage that therapeutic cloning has – the stem cells will be genetically matched to the individual, overcoming the problems with immunological compatibility.
But, just to satisfy those opposed to cloning and embryonic stem cell research, the researchers said that they are now going to see if they can use the embryonic-like cells that have been shown to be able to be derived from skin cells.
- Full text at Nature Medicine (subscription required to read more than the abstract). If the DOI isn’t working yet, use this link.
- Press release at the MSKCC
- Newsdaily.com writeup