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Roslin team applies for human cloning licence

28 September 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 278

Professor Ian Wilmut, the scientist who lead the team that cloned Dolly the sheep, has applied for a licence to clone human embryos. He and his team, based at the Roslin Institute outside of Edinburgh, hope to use the cloned embryos in the study of, and to work towards a cure for, motor neurone disease. He intends to clone cells from sufferers of the debilitating disease in order to determine how it develops.

Professor Wilmut has already publicly stated that he was intending to apply for the licence, in an interview published in New Scientist magazine in February. This was later confirmed at a press conference in April. At the time, Harry Griffin, a spokesman for the Roslin Institute, confirmed that the researchers there would apply for the therapeutic cloning licence, subject to approval by the institute's internal ethics committee.

Now, Professor Wilmut's request has been put before the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government body that licences all work carried out on human embryos in the UK. If the HFEA grants the licence, it will only be the second to be issued in the UK, despite the fact that cloning human embryos for research purposes - often known as therapeutic cloning - has technically been legal in the UK since 2001. The HFEA issued the first licence to a team in Newcastle in August, who are trying to find cures for a number of diseases including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. If the HFEA approves Professor Wilmut's application, the Roslin team hopes to begin research by Easter next year.

At a press conference given to announce the application, Professor Wilmut stressed that the licence would not mean that human babies would be cloned. But, he said, cloning embryos will be an 'extremely powerful' tool in the understanding of disease. 'We want to produce stem cells from these cloned embryos that will allow us to study the early development of the disease', he said, adding 'It is really not something we understand at all at the moment'.

Creator of Dolly the sheep bids to clone human cells
The Evening Standard |  28 September 2004
'Dolly' scientist seeks human clone licence
The Daily Telegraph |  28 September 2004
Dolly scientist's human clone bid
BBC News Online |  28 September 2004
Dolly's creator applies for human cloning licence
Reuters |  28 September 2004
16 October 2006 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
US researchers have used human stem cells to lessen the symptoms of motor neurone disease in rats bred to have symptoms of the condition. The scientists, based at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, showed that injecting fetal nerve stem cells into the spines of rats with amytrophic...
5 June 2006 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
The UK scientist who lead the team responsible for creating Dolly the sheep has suggested using cloning technology to eradicate disease genes in early human embryos. In a new book, currently being serialised in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Professor Ian Wilmut says that it would be...
9 February 2005 - by BioNews 
The scientist who cloned Dolly the sheep has been given permission to use the same technique to clone human embryos for medical research into stem cells. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has granted a licence to the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh to use the cell nucleus replacement (CNR...
3 February 2005 - by BioNews 
US researchers have managed to grow motor neurons, using human embryonic stem (ES) cells, in the laboratory for the first time. The scientists, based at the University of Wisconsin, say their achievement could help research into motor neurone disease. It may eventually be possible to treat the condition using transplants...
11 August 2004 - by BioNews 
The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has given a Newcastle team permission to create human embryos that are clones of patients. The team, which applied for the licence in June, is licensed use the embryos to make embryonic stem cells for research purposes. They plan to investigate diabetes...
23 April 2004 - by BioNews 
Professor Ian Wilmut, leader of the team that created Dolly the sheep, is applying for the UK's first licence to clone human embryos for stem cell research, saying it would be 'immoral' not to carry out such research. Cloning human embryos for medical research purposes - a procedure known as therapeutic...
23 February 2004 - by BioNews 
Scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland, who cloned Dolly the sheep, have confirmed their intention to apply for a license to derive cloned human embryo stem cells. Writing in New Scientist magazine last week, team leader Ian Wilmut says that he wants to clone cells from a patient with...
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