Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer

The Science

Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), also known as therapeutic cloning, is an important subset of stem cell research and may prove to be a vital tool in allowing scientists to fully develop the promise of this research. There is justification that SCNT will invigorate scientific progress in the fight against debilitating illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, spinal cord injury, kidney disease, and Parkinson's disease.

SCNT involves the use of a donor's unfertilized egg and a patient's own cells. The research could allow a patient's own genetic material to be used to develop stem cell therapies specifically tailored to that individual's medical condition, thus not triggering an immune rejection response. In other words, using SCNT could repair patients with their own cells. The sole purpose of this technology is to develop treatments for diseases and medical conditions.

Because of SCNT, science could advance to the point where millions of people will have access to life saving therapies developed using their own DNA. The National Academy of Sciences and National Institutes of Health have identified nuclear transfer as important technology to be pursued.

Politics and SCNT

Given the scientific potential in this area, the Foundation has joined the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR) in strongly opposing any legislative or regulatory action that would ban research related to SCNT. This would include criminalizing the research or the researchers, and prohibiting the importation of therapies derived from SCNT in other countries. In support of the Foundation's stance, polling has consistently indicated that a majority of Americans believe that research into cloning to provide cells that could be used to treat various diseases would improve their quality of life.

Over the past several years, Congress has taken no legislative action to ban or allow reproductive and therapeutic cloning, although attempts have been made to criminalize SCNT research. Through the Foundation's membership in CAMR, we are monitoring both houses of Congress for permissive or restrictive SCNT legislation.

Visit the CAMR web site for the most current information regarding SCNT legislative efforts in Washington, DC, as well as in the states.

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