British Researchers Apply for Licence to Generate Human Brain Cells

September 29, 2004 | Source: BBC News

The scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep at Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute have formally applied for a license to clone human embryos to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (called MND or motor neurone disease in the UK).

The research team plans to take DNA from the skin or blood of a person with MND and implant it into a human egg from which the genetic material has been removed. The egg would then be stimulated to develop into an embryo. The scientists would remove cells from the embryo while it was still in the earliest stages of development, and study them to gain a better understanding of the disease.

Therapeutic cloning for research has been legal in the UK since 2001. In August 2004, University of Newcastle scientists performed therapeutic cloning using human embryos for the first time. They wanted to duplicate early stage embryos and extract stem cells from them which can be used for radical new treatments for a host of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes.