Therapeutic Cloning

Is therapeutic cloning bad, even though it can save lives?

what is therapeutic cloning?

Therapeutic cloning is the process of creating embryonic stem cells to replace damaged tissues or organs. Can also be used for research purposes when scientists harvest stem cells to study and treat various diseases.

Benefits

  • Reduces the risk of rejection for transplants because the new organs are created using the patient's own cells
  • Recovery from paralysis through therapeutic cloning
  • Patients don't have to wait for organs and risk losing their lives
  • The patient's DNA would match the organ exactly
  • Research can help to gain a better understanding of all the intricate details about therapeutic cloning and help cure various diseases

Dangers

  • In the process, it gets rid of the human embryo
  • Can lower success rates, thereby making its outcomes uncertain
  • Some cells can cause tumors in patients
  • It is highly controversial because it's considered "playing God" or "against God's wishes"
  • The stem cells might get rejected by the organism's immune system

Examples:

  • In the year 2000, identical pigs, Millie, Christa, Alexis, Carrel, and Dotcom were cloned to harvest their organs for medical purposes
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  • Surgeons have, for the first time, used a combination of an artificial heart and stem cells to save the life of a dying man. Stem cells are injected into and around the heart; these cells build new blood vessels and restore function to the damaged heart tissue.
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  • 9-month-old Chloe Levine was diagnosed with right-side hemiplegic cerebral palsy, which affected all motor movements from this side of her body. The neurologist consulted for this case stated that the young Arizonian would have to endure almost 20 years worth of therapy, until the parents remembered they had stored her cord blood cells when she was born. This meant they could try a new experimental procedure to repair damaged brain tissue causing her problems. Only 2 months after her first infusion of stem cells she had already improved 50%.
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  • Therapeutic cloning, also known as somatic-cell nuclear transfer, can be used to treat Parkinson's disease in mice. For the first time, researchers showed that therapeutic cloning or SCNT has been successfully used to treat disease in the same subjects from whom the initial cells were derived. While this current work is in animals, it could have future implications as this method may be an effective way to reduce transplant rejection and enhance recovery in other diseases and in other organ systems.
  • Another case involves the temporary relief of the symptoms of Diabetes type 1. In studies done with people just diagnosed with this disease, they compared a group they infused with blood cord stem cell while another group was given a placebo. The results showed that the group of participants that were given the infusion went on average 2 ½ years without the need of daily insulin injections. Stem cell transplants have freed patients with type 1 diabetes of daily insulin injections.

Background Information:


  • In April 2014, cloning technologies have been used to generate stem cells that are genetically matched to adult patients. Researchers put the nucleus of an adult skin cell inside an egg, and that reconstructed egg went through the initial stages of embryonic development.
  • The first successful bone marrow transplant between a related donor and recipient was performed by Dr E Donnall Thomas in New York. The patient, who has leukemia, is given radiotherapy and then treated with healthy bone marrow from an identical twin.
  • The stem cells have to be able to be isolated from a source, grown in the laboratory, turned into the specific cell type needed for treatment and then trialed clinically to ensure that the new tissue or organ poses no risk to the patient. This area is still a matter of much research.
  • When using cloned embryos as the source, stem cells are removed after the embryos have divided for about five days; the process destroys the embryo which is a major ethical consideration.
  • An adult stem cell is an undifferentiated cell found among cells in a tissue or organ, can renew itself, and can differentiate to yield the major specialized cell types of the tissue or organ. The primary roles of adult stem cells in a living organism are to maintain and repair the tissue in which they are located.

Conclusion:

I believe that therapeutic cloning can be beneficial and can cure diseases, such as, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and leukemia. Although it is risky, it would have to be practiced within legal and ethical boundaries. If there is a possibility that therapeutic cloning could provide a cure that would save the lives of millions of patients who suffer every day with terrible diseases, then we should do everything we can to encourage this research.

Bibliography:


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