May 19, 2005

RON BAILEY looks at some promising new Korean research and says we've entered the age of therapeutic cloning. Sounds good to me. Here's more from the Financial Times:

Scientists have cloned embryos for the first time from patients with serious diseases and injuries. The research at Seoul National University in South Korea demonstrates the principle of “therapeutic cloning” producing stem cells genetically identical to the patient, which could repair any damaged or diseased tissue.

Hwang Woo-suk, the study leader, called it “a giant step forward towards the day when some of mankind's most devastating diseases and injuries can be effectively treated through the use of therapeutic stem cells”.

As Bailey notes:

The House of Representatives has twice voted to criminalize precisely this research, proposing to toss therapeutic cloning researchers into prison for up to ten years and fine them one million dollars. In fact, if this effort to criminalize research on cloned human stem cells were to succeed, Americans who go abroad to seek cloned stem cell treatments, say, to cure their diabetes, could be jailed for up to ten years for illegally "importing" cloned stem cells. The Bush Administration was also pushing the United Nations to adopt a treaty to outlaw both cloning to produce transplants and reproductive cloning.

The Bush Administration is wrong on this, and they're likely to get politically steamrollered if they make a fight of it, once people realize that they, or their family, are at risk of dying from otherwise curable diseases if this kind of legislation passes.