CLONED embryonicstem cells have been used to treat Parkinsonsdiseaseina world first that offers hope of acure for the debilitating brain disease.
Theresearch,carriedoutin mice, is seen as a scientific landmark, as it is the first time animalshavebeen successfully treated with stem cells cloned from their own bodies.
Scientistssaytheexperiments offerproofthatthecontroversial techniquescould
provide new treatments for incurable diseases.
Intime,Parkinsonspatients could be treated with brain cells grown from their own bodies.
However,critics,includingthe Catholic Church, say the process of therapeuticcloninginwhich embryosarecreatedbeforebeing destroyedreduces the sanctity of human life to nothing more than a factory of spareparts.
TheU.S.researcherstookskin cells from the tails of mice suffering from a Parkinsons-like disease andinserted them into the mouse eggs.
Stemcellsmastercellswith theabilitytogrowintodifferent cell typeswere plucked from the resulting embryos and coaxed into growing into braincells.
The freshly-grown cells were then transplanted into the brains of the diseasedmice.Notonlywere the healthy cells not rejected, but symptoms markedly improved.
However,whenthecellswere graftedintodifferent mice that were not a genetic match, the animals failed to recover.
The researchers, from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York,said their …