by Steven Ertelt
October 13, 2004
Boston, MA (LifeNews.com) — Researchers at Harvard University want to become the first in the nation to specifically use human cloning to create human embryos for use in research. They have asked a university ethical review board for permission to engage in the controversial practice.
Douglas Melton, a leading Harvard research who, earlier this year, announced the creation of a multimillion dollar embryonic stem cell research facility on campus, claims the human cloning is necessary "to find new ways to study and hopefully cure diseases."
Melton and a colleague have applied for permission to engage in the cloning, the Boston Globe reports.
Provost Dr. Steven Hyman told the Globe that the university will consider the ethical questions associated with the request. Hyman did not know how long it will take for the university to make a final decision.
"We are being extremely careful about this," he said.
However, pro-life groups, which prefer the use of adult stem cells, which have been shown more effective in clinical trials, were distressed by the news.
”This crosses the line of creating life in the laboratory solely to destroy it," Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the Globe. ”This is the ultimate reduction of human life as an object for others to use."
The human cloning would not be used for reproductive cloning purposes — to bring a cloned human being to birth. Two teams of Harvard scientists want to perform the cloning. The other team is based at Children’s Hospital and has not yet applied for Harvard’s permission.
Under President Bush’s August 2001 policy prohibiting taxpayer funding of any new embryonic stem cell research, the Harvard research would be illegible for federal grants.
John Kerry opposes the Bush policy and has signed on to a bill specifically allowing the use of human cloning in research.
South Korean scientists say that have been successful in using the same human cloning techniques and scientists at a British university want to follow suit.