Therapeutic Cloning- Produces a cloned embryo to create embryonic stem cells for understanding and developing treatments
Therapeutic cloning involves creating a cloned embryo for the sole purpose of producing embryonic stem cells with the same DNA as the donor cell.
These stem cells can be used in experiments aimed at understanding disease and developing new treatments for disease.
For example, the nucleus of a cell, typically a skin cell, is inserted into a fertilized egg whose nucleus has been removed. The nucleated egg begins to divide repeatedly to form a blastocyst. Scientists then extract stem cells from the blastocyst and use them to grow cells that are a perfect genetic match for the patient. The cells created via therapeutic cloning can then be transplanted into the patient to treat a disease from which the patient suffers.
Scientists hope to use these embryonic stem cells, which have the unique ability to generate virtually all types of cells in an organism, to grow tissues in the laboratory that can be used to grow healthy tissue to replace injured or diseased tissues. In addition, it may be possible to learn more about the molecular causes of disease by studying embryonic stem cell lines from cloned embryos derived from the cells of animals or humans with different diseases.