Family Research Council

EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS & CLONING

David Prentice

  • Embryonic stem cells (ESC) derived from destruction of early human embryos
  • Destroys young human life; zero successful treatments or disease models
  • Basic biology: an embryo is the earliest stage of development in any life
  • Requires destruction of the embryo
  • Human ESC first derived in lab in 1998; mouse ESC derived in 1981
  • No patient treatments, few and modest success in mice

Sources of Embryos: Fertilized embryos; Cloned embryos

  • Frozen "leftover" embryos--a bait & switch; Not enough available, no genetic diversity
  • Need to create embryos for experiments--egg & sperm donors, or Cloning
  • Cloning--zero success getting cells after over 10 years of attempts

Destructive Embryo Research Offers False Promises

  • Problems continue to plague ESC research
  • Tumor formation; Misplaced tissue types, Malfunctioning cells; -Transplant rejection
  • Embryonic stem cell experts themselves note any potential treatments are decades away
  • Fertilization and Cloning both produce living embryos
  • Cloning, a.k.a. Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (technique used for Dolly the cloned sheep)
  • [Transfer of Nucleus (chromosomes) from Somatic Cell (body cell) into an egg cell to make clone]
  • Creating embryos for experiments will require massive harvest of women's eggs
  • Exploiting women's bodies as raw material for experiments, severe health risks, incl. death

ALTERNATIVE TO PRODUCE EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS

Technique developed for human cells in 2007, Japanese & U.S. scientists

"Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells" (iPS cells)

Use any cell (e.g., skin, blood), add genes to reprogram normal cell

Induced (reprogrammed) stem cells act like embryonic stem cells

  • No embryos, eggs, or cloning used
  • Can make iPS cell from any person, including any patient
  • Cheaper, easier than ESC, ethical (no destruction of human life)

Stem Cells for Patient Treatment--ADULT STEM CELLS

Currently treating thousands of patients for dozens of diseases