Cloning is the production of genetically identical plants or animals either a whole or in parts. Therapeutic cloning otherwise known as research cloning or somatic cell nuclear transfer, involves replacement of an embryo DNA with the DNA from a cell removed from an individual, in other words, a somatic cell is fused with an enucleated ovum. The resultant embryo would be allowed to grow for two weeks to form a blastocyst. Then, the stem cells from its inner cell mass would be extracted to grow into a piece of human tissue or a complete human organ ready for transplant. Its DNA is the same as the original somatic cell (Fadel, 2012). The final result would be an organ ready for transplantation, skin or nerve tissue, or quantity of skin instead of an embryo that would have developed into the biological child of its genetic parents. Thus, though the procedure of therapeutic cloning involves destruction of the embryo, it evolves as a promising technology for regenerative medicine (Sparrow, 2009). This was successfully done for the first time in November 2001 by a biotechnology company in Worcester, Massachusetts of United States named Advanced Cell Technology.
Identification of the goals of instituting therapeutic cloning and the community it serves
The therapeutic cloning is different from “reproductive cloning”, as the latter might help in assisted reproduction making parenthood possible to the couples having certain forms of infertility or repeated miscarriages that are genetically related. The most important advantage is that therapeutic cloning holds the promise of a cure for the community of patients suffering from diseases like diabetes, myocardial infarct, Duchene muscular dystrophy, kidney or liver failure, neurologic diseases like stroke or Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s, genetic diseases and malignancies which are regarded as incurable so far (Fadel, 2012). The regenerative medicine makes it possible to replace the faulty, diseased tissues with the healthy ones. Another positive aspect is that the people who need organ transplants need not wait for suitable donors. The transplanted tissue is free from the rejection problem, as it contains the same DNA as the patient, this eliminates the need for lifelong immunosuppressive therapy. The pathogenesis of genetic diseases can be studied using this. This process can be highly useful in gene therapy. Altogether, therapeutic cloning is potent enough to make a revolution in human regenerative medicine provided it is applied extensively putting aside the many ethical issues related to it.
Fadel, H. E. (2012). Developments in Stem Cell Research and Therapeutic Cloning: Islamic Ethical Positions, A Review. Bioethics, 26(3), 128–135. DOI :10.1111/j.1467-8519.2010.01840.x
Sparrow, Robert. (2009). Therapeutic Cloning and Reproductive Liberty. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 34, 102 – 118. DOI: 10.1093/jmp/jhp014.