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Two Major Studies Show: Human Pluripotent Stem Cells without Cloning or Destroying Embryo
Date:11/20/2007

"On both ethical and practical grounds, direct programming is superior to cloning as a means of obtaining patient-specific pluripotent stem cells."

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two major scientific papers published this week in Science and Cell unveil a proven way to generate patient-matched human pluripotent stem cells without human cloning, and without the use of human embryos or human or animal eggs. Research groups in Wisconsin and Japan have generated "induced pluripotent stem" (iPS) cells with the properties of human embryonic stem cells by direct reprogramming of adult cells.

These are the studies which prompted Ian Wilmut, creator of Dolly the sheep and one of the world's leading authorities on the cloning process Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT), to announce that he was abandoning SCNT to focus on reprogramming instead.

The following summary and analysis was produced by Maureen Condic, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah School of Medicine and Markus Grompe, M.D., Director, Oregon Stem Cell Center and Professor, Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics Oregon Health Sciences University (affiliations are for reference only). A fuller version of their analysis is available at the Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics website at http://www.stemcellresearch.org/statement/pptalkingpointsweb.pdf.

Summary of results and significance

Unlike embryonic stem cells, which are obtained by destroying live embryos, iPSCs are made directly from adult cells by adding a small number of factors to these cells in the laboratory. These factors remodel the mature cells and convert them into stem cells that are functionally identical to stem cells obtained from embryos. No human eggs are required and no human embryos are generated.

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SOURCE Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics
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