The therapeutic cloning uses a process known as somatic cell nucleus transplantation (replacing the cell nucleus, research cloning, and embryo cloning), consisting in the removal of the oocyte from which the nucleus has been removed, and replacing this nucleus with the DNA of another organism. After many mitotic divisions of culture (mitosis culture), this cell forms a blastocyst (the early stage of the embryo consisting of approximately 100 cells) with DNA almost identical to the primary organism.
The purpose of this procedure is to obtain stem cells that are genetically compatible with the donor organism. For example, from the DNA of a patient with Parkinson’s disease, it is possible to obtain embryonic stem cells that can be used to treat it, but they will not be rejected by the patient’s immune system.
Stem cells obtained through therapeutic cloning are used to treat many diseases. In addition, a number of methods with their use are currently under development (treatment of certain types of blindness, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, etc.)
This method often causes controversy in the academic environment, the question describing the created blastocyst is called into question. Some believe that it is incorrect to call it a blastocyst or embryo, since it was not created by fertilization, but others argue that under appropriate conditions, a fetus may develop from it, and ultimately a child – therefore it is more appropriate to call the result an embryo.
The potential for applying therapeutic cloning in the field of medicine is simply enormous. Some opponents of therapeutic cloning oppose the fact that this procedure uses human embryos, while destroying them. Others think that such an approach instrumentalizes human life or that it will be difficult to resolve therapeutic cloning without permitting reproductive cloning.
According to data from 2006, cloning for therapeutic purposes is used in the UK, Belgium, and Sweden. Studies in this field have been permitted in Japan, Singapore, Israel, and Korea.
In the UK, therapeutic cloning is permitted for research purposes and is included in the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act in 2001.
In many other countries, therapeutic cloning is forbidden, although laws are constantly discussed and changed. On December 8, 2003, the UN countries voted against the ban on reproductive and therapeutic cloning offered by Costa Rica.
The therapeutic cloning uses a process known as somatic cell nucleus transplantation (replacing the cell nucleus, research cloning, and embryo cloning), consisting in the removal of the oocyte from which the nucleus has been removed, and replacing this nucleus with the DNA of another organism.