Pledge for Izzy
Freedom from Discrimination
Gender & Sexuality
Freedoms & Public Christianity
Sexualisation of Society
Poverty and Justice
Pray for Parliament
Freedom from Discrimination
Pledge for Izzy
Freedom from Discrimination
Pages tagged "cloning"
Embryonic stem cell research hasn’t lived up to the hype
· July 08, 2011 10:00 AM
A committee examining federal cloning laws has acknowledged that ‘hype’ has been a factor in the debate about the medical possibilities of embryonic stem cell research.
The Minister for Mental health and Ageing the Hon Mark Butler MP has made public the
Report of the Independent Review
Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2002
Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002
In its report, the committee noted that, “progress with SCNT [somatic cell nuclear transfer – embryonic] cells has not lived up to the hope (and hype) which attended their discovery”. It further noted “the lack of progress in SCNT research in animals and humans”.
Despite these significant concessions – and in spite of the ethical complexities and scientific evidence of embryonic closing – the majority of the committee recommended that, “The provisions in the current legislation regarding SCNT should not be amended”.
Committee member Reverend Kevin McGovern disagreed:
The proposed benefits of SCNT research therefore seem not entirely convincing, sometimes rather small, and largely theoretical. On the other hand, SCNT involves the most profound of ethical concerns. It is the creation of human life which will be used in research and then destroyed. When people understand this, many people within the community are troubled by SCNT.
For all this, however, this most serious of ethical concerns has been judged less significant than the mostly theoretical benefits which might come if research into SCNT is allowed to continue. With this outcome, Reverend McGovern wonders whether the ethical concerns about SCNT research are ultimately being given anything more than lip-service.
The lack of progress with embryonic cloning, coupled with the success of ethically sound research involving adult skin (iPS – induced pluripotent stem) cells, means the case for continuing the morally fraught practice of creating human life and then destroying it, with the supposed intent of finding cures to save other lives, has been seriously diminished.
To read a blog post from Australians for Ethical Stem Cell Research on the release of the committee’s report, please click
. A media report is available
Cloning Review coincides with a loss of confidence in the science
· April 21, 2011 10:00 AM
As the Legislative Review into Australia’s cloning laws finishes its hearings this week, a leading Australian scientist involved in the attempt to create cloned human embryos has joined overseas scientists in stepping back from the controversial practice.
Dr Robert Jansen is head of Sydney IVF, which is the only laboratory in the country to have attempted cloning since it was legalised in 2006. With cloning, an embryo is created which is the identical genetic twin of the patient in order to obtain stem cells from that embryo that exactly match the patient.
This technique was permitted in Australia after a prolonged Parliamentary debate and conscience vote in 2006, and only after enormous public expectation had been created that cloning would lead to cures for many diseases. For example, leading scientist and Australian of the Year in 2006, Professor Ian Frazer,
told ABC radio
that these embryonic stem cells “have the potential to be basically a repair kit for the human body” and that this research “has the capacity to solve very many of the major diseases of mankind: brain disease, heart disease, diabetes for example.”
The reality has proven very different to the hype that swayed the Senate in 2006 to pass the cloning laws (by just a single vote). No laboratory anywhere in the world has managed to obtain even a single embryonic stem cell by cloning, and scientists who previously supported this technique are now talking down its prospects.
The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday April 16, 2011
interviewed Dr Jansen and reported
: “Sydney IVF is the only Australian group so far attempting somatic cell nuclear transfer, or therapeutic cloning with donated eggs – an even more controversial technique permitted by a 2006 review of the embryo legislation. If they succeed, and it is proving difficult, it would be a world first. Because there are newer ways of producing cloned (sic) stem cells without using eggs, Jansen concedes that therapeutic cloning may not turn out to have a big role in medicine after all.”
The ‘newer ways’ of producing ‘pluripotent’ stem cells that exactly match the patient refers to the discovery in 2007 by Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka of a way of transforming a skin cell into the exact equivalent of an embryonic stem cell – but without ever using a woman’s egg or creating a human embryo, and thereby avoiding the ethical concerns. This method has proven immensely successful in obtaining the specialised stem cells that cloning failed to obtain.
Last month a leading cloning scientists in the US, Rudolph Jaenisch, also conceded that cloning has proven a failure. He
told The Scientist magazine
“Ten years ago, we talked about the potential of nuclear transfer (cloning) for therapy. But it turns out the technique was of no practical relevance. You would never do it in humans for a number of reasons. First, it’s very inefficient. With mice, that doesn’t matter because we can do hundreds of transfers to get a few mice. But human cloning is another order of magnitude more difficult than in mice.”
As the Legislative Review prepares to report to Parliament on May 27, 2011 we hope that the report acknowledges the dramatically changed scientific landscape, where the failed science of cloning has been replaced by Yamanaka’s entirely ethical technique of ‘induced pluripotent stem cell’ production.
There is public concern that the only scientist on the Review Committee is Professor Frazer, who so overstated the prospects for cloning in the lead up to the 2006 vote. There is further concern that the other prominent member of the Committee is Professor Loane Skene, who was Chair of the committee that recommended cloning to the Federal Government in 2005. There is certainly a perception of lack of balance on the Committee, given that the two dominant members are well known advocates of cloning. However, we trust that the Committee’s report will acknowledge the diminished role for cloning in the field of stem cell science, and recommend that our Parliament restore the prohibition against creating cloned human embryos solely for research and destruction.
Cloning review – deadline approaching
· February 17, 2011 11:00 AM
It is now less than a month until the deadline for making submissions to the Federal Government’s review of cloning laws. The closing date is 15 March.
Human cloning is the creation of living human embryos solely for the purpose of research and destruction. The practice has been allowed since the passing of controversial legislative amendments in 2006, by a single vote in the Senate.
Human cloning is unethical and unnecessary because there are ethical methods of obtaining specialised stem cells. Through ‘direct reprogramming’ of adult skin cells, scientists can create the exact equivalent of embryonic stem cells, meaning the creation and destruction of human embryos is no longer required. Adult stem cells have long been used in a myriad of therapies
The miracle cures that were to be ushered in with the introduction of human cloning haven’t occurred. The science has never delivered on its promises, and human cloning laws should be repealed.
You can learn more about human cloning and why it is not necessary at the very good
blog of Dr David van Gend
of Australians for Ethical Stem Cell Research. For more information, including where to send a submission, please click
Government announces cloning review
· December 23, 2010 11:00 AM
In what has become an annual ritual of governments of all persuasions to ‘clear the decks’ just prior to Christmas, the Federal Government yesterday announced the composition of a committee that will review Australia’s cloning laws.
The timing of the announcement is doubly interesting given the relevant legislation stipulates a review of the laws was meant to be complete by the end of this year!
announced by The Hon Mark Butler MP
, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, the members of the cloning legislation review committee are: The Hon Peter Heerey QC (Chair), Professor Loane Skene, Professor Ian Frazer, Doctor Faye Thompson and Reverend Kevin McGovern.
The announcement has been met with strong scepticism by Dr David van Gend, a Toowoomba GP and National Director of the organisation, Australians for Ethical Stem Cell Research. Writing on the announcement, he opens a
This is part disgrace, part farce. A Review that is only announced a few days after the final date at which the statutory report was meant to be completed and tabled; a Government Minister who does not even know the year of the legislation to be reviewed; a new Committee of Review featuring the architect and chief activist of the last Review! What a display of government amateurishness, and what a despicably cynical process for conducting a new Review on such a contentious matter.
ACL anticipates that the review process will indeed be a contentious issue in 2011 and will follow the debate with some interest.
ACL Tasmania submission on cloning
· August 13, 2006 10:00 AM
to read ACL’s submission to the Review of the Tasmanian
Human Embryonic Research Regulation Act 2003
Human Cloning and Other Prohibited Practices Act 2003
Sign in with Facebook
Sign in with Twitter
Sign in with Email
Optional email code
Get instant access to news about political issues facing christians