DOCS GET GO-AHEAD ON HUMAN CLONING; Research Paves Way for New Treatments
Byline: By Judith Duffy
SCIENTISTS have been given the green light to clone human embryos in the UK for the first time.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority granted the licence after weeks of discussion.
It heralds a new era in medical research - and could lead to new treatments for conditions such as diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.
But critics fear the technology may be abused to create cloned babies.
The research will be carried out by experts from Newcastle University.
But it could be at least five years before patients receive treatments based on their work.
Research leader Professor Alison Murdoch, of the Newcastle NHS Fertility Centre, said: 'The potential this area of research offers is immensely exciting and we are keen to take the work we've done to the next level.
'Since we submitted our application we have had overwhelming support from senior scientists and clinicians from all over the world and many letters from patients who may benefit from the research.'
Therapeutic cloning - theprocess used to create Dolly the sheep - is carried out for medical reasons.
It involves cloning embryos and harvesting stem cells from them which could be used to treat a wide range of diseases. The embryos are destroyed before they are 14 days old and never allowed to develop beyond a cluster of cells the size of a pinhead. …