Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Narrative Review

Vol. 10 No. 2 (2007)

Therapeutic cloning: promises and issues

  • Charlotte Kfoury
November 1, 2020


Advances in biotechnology necessitate both an understanding of scientific principles and ethical implications to be clinically applicable in medicine. In this regard, therapeutic cloning offers significant potential in regenerative medicine by circumventing immunorejection, and in the cure of genetic disorders when used in conjunction with gene therapy. Therapeutic cloning in the context of cell replacement therapy holds a huge potential for de novo organogenesis and the permanent treatment of Parkinson's disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and diabetes mellitus as shown by in vivo studies. Scientific roadblocks impeding advancement in therapeutic cloning are tumorigenicity, epigenetic reprogramming, mitochondrial heteroplasmy, interspecies pathogen transfer, low oocyte availability. Therapeutic cloning is also often tied to ethical considerations concerning the source, destruction and moral status of IVF embryos based on the argument of potential. Legislative and funding issues are also addressed. Future considerations would include a distinction between therapeutic and reproductive cloning in legislative formulations.


  1. Snustad, Simmons. Principles of Genetics, 3rd Edition. John Wiley & Sons Inc, 2003.
  2. Illmensee K, Levanduski M, Zavos PM. Evaluation of the embryonic preimplantation potential of human adult somatic
  3. cells via an embryo interspecies bioassay using bovine oocytes. Fertil Steril. 2006 Apr;85 Suppl 1:1248-60.
  4. Doss MX, Koehler CI, Gissel C, Hescheler J, Sachinidis A. Embryonic stem cells: a promising tool for cell replacement
  5. therapy. J Cell Mol Med. 2004 Oct-Dec;8(4):465-73. Review.
  6. . Mahnoush H. Arsanjani. Negociating the UN Declaration on Human Cloning. The American Journal of International Law,
  7. Vol.100, No.1. (Jan 2006), pp.164-179, accessed online from JSTOR archives.
  8. Pattinson SD. University of Sheffield, Sheffield Institute of Biotechnological Law and Ethics (SIBLE). Some problems
  9. challenging the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, Med Law. 2005 Jun;24(2):391-401.
  10. Center for Genetics and Society. Canadian Parliament Approves the "Assisted Human Reproduction Act, "A Model of
  11. Responsible Policy. http://www.genetics-andsociety. org/policies/other/canada.html.
  12. Dennis C. Australia considers changing laws to allow therapeutic cloning. Nat Med. 2006 Feb;12(2):156.
  13. Zavos PM, Illmensee K. Possible therapy of male infertility by reproductive cloning: one cloned human 4-cell embryo. Arch Androl. 2006 Jul-Aug;52(4):243-54.
  14. Liang P, Jin LH, Liang T, Liu EZ, Zhao SG. Human neural stem cells promote corticospinal axons regeneration and synapse reformation in injured spinal cord of rats. Chin Med J (Engl). 2006 Aug 20;119(16):1331-8.
  15. D'Amour KA, Bang AG, Eliazer S, Kelly OG, Agulnick AD, Smart NG, Moorman MA, Kroon E, Carpenter MK, Baetge EE.
  16. Production of pancreatic hormone-expressing endocrine cells from human embryonic stem cells. Nat Biotechnol. 2006 Oct;
  17. Barberi T, Klivenyi P, Calingasan NY, Lee H, Kawamata H, Loonam K, Perrier AL, Bruses J, Rubio ME, Topf N, Tabar V,
  18. Harrison NL, Beal MF, Moore MA, Studer L. Neural subtype specification of fertilization and nuclear transfer embryonic
  19. stem cells and application in parkinsonian mice. Nat Biotechnol. 2003 Oct;21(10):1200-7.
  20. Sharpless NE and DePinho RA, Telomeres, stem cells, senescence, and cancer, J. Clin. Invest 2004; 113:160-168.
  21. Stampfer M, Garbe J, Levine G, Lichtsteiner S, Vasserot A, Yaswen P. Expression of the telomerase catalytic subunit,
  22. hTERT, induces resistance to transforming growth factor ß growth inhibition in p16INK4A(-) human mammary epithelial
  23. cells. PNAS 2001 Apr 10;98(8):4498-503.
  24. Mitalipov SM, Wolf DP. Nuclear transfer in nonhuman primates, Methods Mol Biol. 2006;348:151-68.
  25. Novak K. Therapeutic cloning gives silenced genes a second voice. Nat Med. 2004 Oct;10(10):100.
  26. Hochedlinger K, Blelloch R, Brennan C, Yamada Y, Kim M, Chin L, Jaenisch R. Reprogramming of a melanoma genome by nuclear transplantation. Genes Dev. 2004 Aug 1;18(15):1875-85
  27. Li L, Connelly MC, Wetmore C, Curran T, Morgan JI. Mouse embryos cloned from brain tumors. Cancer Res. 2003 Jun
  28. ;63(11):2733-6.
  29. Fan J, Kodama E, Koh Y, Nakao M , Matsuoka M. Halogenated thymidine analogues restore the expression of silenced genes without demethylation. Cancer Research 2005; 65 (15): 6927-6933.
  30. Reik W, Romer I, Barton SC, Surani MA, Howlett SK, Klose J. Adult phenotype in the mouse can be affected by epigenetic
  31. events in the early embryo. Development. 1993 Nov;119(3):933-42.
  32. Jaenisch R. Human cloning - the science and ethics of nuclear transplantation, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. N Engl J Med 2004 Dec 30;351(27):2787-91.
  33. Blelloch R, Wang Z, Meissner A, Pollard S, Smith A, Jaenisch R. Reprogramming efficiency following somatic cell nuclear
  34. transfer is influenced by the differentiation and methylation state of the donor nucleus.1: Stem Cells. 2006 Sep;24(9):2007-13.
  35. Liu W, Wang DR, Cao YL. TGF-beta: a fibrotic factor in wound scarring and a potential target for anti-scarring gene therapy. Curr Gene Ther 2004 Mar;4(1):123-36. Review.
  36. Huard J, Cao B, Qu-Petersen Z. Muscle-derived stem cells: potential for muscle regeneration. Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today 2003 Aug; 69 (3):230-7. Review.
  37. Rideout WM 3rd, Hochedlinger K, Kyba M, Daley GQ, Jaenisch R. Correction of a genetic defect by nuclear
  38. transplantation and combined cell and gene therapy. Cell. 2002 Apr 5;109(1):17-27.
  39. Hall VJ, Stojkovic P, Stojkovic M. Using therapeutic cloning to fight human disease: a conundrum or reality? Stem Cells. 2006 Jul; 24(7):1628-37. Review.
  40. Chinen J, Puck JM. Successes and risks of gene therapy in primary immunodeficiencies. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004
  41. Apr;113(4):595-603. Review.
  42. Acevedo B, Gomez-Palomares JL, Ricciarelli E, Hernández ER. Triggering ovulation with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists does not compromise embryo implantation rates. Fertility and Sterility 2006 Dec; 86(6):1682-7.
  43. Mathur R, Kailasam C, Jenkins J. Review of the evidence base of strategies to prevent ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Human Fertility 2007; 10(2):75 - 85.
  44. Okie S. Stem-cell research--signposts and roadblocks. N Engl J Med. 2005 Jul 7;353(1):1-5.
  45. Hall VJ, Compton D, Stojkovic P, Nesbitt M, Herbert M, Murdoch A, Stojkovic M. Developmental competence of human
  46. in vitro aged oocytes as host cells for nuclear transfer. Human Reproduction 2006 Sept 6.
  47. Holden C. Stem cell research. Harvard cloners Get OK to proceed with caution. Sc ience 2006 Jun 16;312(5780):1584.
  48. Nagy ZP, Chang CC. Artificial Gametes,.Theriogenology 2006 Oct 19.
  49. Tesarik J, Nagy ZP, Sousa M, Mendoza C, Abdelmassih R. Fertilizable oocytes reconstructed from patient's somatic cell
  50. nuclei and donor ooplasts. Reprod Biomed Online. 2001;2(3):160-164.
  51. Dominko T, Mitalipova M, Haley B, Beyhan Z, Memili E, McKusick B. First NL.Bovine oocyte cytoplasm supports
  52. development of embryos produced by nuclear transfer of somatic cell nuclei from various mammalian species. Biol
  53. Reprod. 1999 Jun;60(6):1496-502.
  54. Colman A, Kind A. Therapeutic cloning: concepts and practicalities. PPL Therapeutics, Trends Biotechnol. 2000
  55. May;18(5):192-6.
  56. Hall VJ, Stojkovic P, Stojkovic M. Using therapeutic cloning to fight human disease: a conundrum or reality? Stem Cells. 2006 Jul;24(7):1628-37. Review.
  57. Sharov VG, Todor A, Khanal S, Imai M, Sabbah HN, Cyclosporine A attenuates mitochondrial permeability transition
  58. and improves mitochondrial respiratory function in cardiomyocytes isolated from dogs with heart failure. J Mol Cell
  59. Cardiol. 2006 Oct 26;
  60. Park ES, Hwang WS, Jang G, Cho JK, Kang SK, Lee BC, Han JY, Lim JM. Incidence of apoptosis in clone embryos and
  61. improved development by the treatment of donor somatic cells with putative apoptosis inhibitors. Mol Reprod Dev. 2004
  62. May;68(1):65-71.
  63. Lanza RP, Cibelli JB, West MD. West Prospects for the use of nuclear transfer in human transplantation. Nature
  64. Biotechnology 1999; 17:1171 - 1174
  65. Yang XY, Li H, Ma QW, Yan JB, Zhao JG, Li HW, Shen HQ, Liu HF, Huang Y, Huang SZ, Zeng YT, Zeng F. Shanghai Institute of Medical Genetics. Improved efficiency of bovine cloning by autologous somatic cell nuclear transfer. Reproduction. 2006
  66. Nov;132(5):733-739.
  67. Lanza RP, Cibelli JB, West MD. Human therapeutic cloning. Nat Med. 1999 Sep;5(9):975-7.
  68. Miyagawa S, Nakatsu S, Hazama K, Nakagawa T, Kondo A, Matsunami K, Yamamoto A, Yamada J, Miyazawa T, Shirakura
  69. R. A novel strategy for preventing PERV transmission to human cells by remodeling the viral envelope glycoprotein.
  70. Xenotransplantation. 2006 May;13(3):258-63.
  71. Moalic Y, Blanchard Y, Felix H, Jestin A. Porcine endogenous retrovirus integration sites in the human genome: features in common with those of murine leukemia virus. Journal of Virology, 2006 Nov;80(22):10980-8.
  72. Gruen L, Grabel L. Concise review: scientific and ethical roadblocks to human embryonic stem cell therapy. Stem Cells.
  73. Oct; 24(10):2162-9.
  74. Martin MJ, Muotri A, Gage F, Varki A. Glycobiology Research and Training Center and Department of Medicine. University of California. Human embryonic stem cells express an immunogenic nonhuman sialic acid. Nat Med. 2005
  75. Feb;11(2):228-32.
  76. Ludwig TE, Levenstein ME, Jones JM, Berggren WT, Mitchen ER, Frane JL, Crandall LJ, Daigh CA, Conard KR, Piekarczyk
  77. MS, Llanas RA, Thomson JA. WiCell Research Institute. Derivation of human embryonic stem cells in defined
  78. conditions. Nat Biotechnol. 2006 Feb;24(2):185-7.
  79. Fujikawa T, Oh SH, Pi L, Hatch HM, Shupe T, Petersen BE. Teratoma formation leads to failure of treatment for type I
  80. diabetes using embryonic stem cell-derived insulin -producing cells. American Journal of Pathology 2005 Jun;166(6):1781-91.
  81. Mimeault M, Batra SK. Recent Advances on the Significance of Stem Cells in Tissue Regeneration and Cancer Therapies. Stem Cells. 2006;24(11):2319-2345.
  82. Ostrer H, Wilson DI, Hanley NA. Human embryo and early fetus research, Clin Genet. 2006 Aug; 70(2):98-107.
  83. Landry DW, Zucker HA. Embryonic death and the creation of human embryonic stem cells, J Clin Invest. 2004 Nov;
  84. (9):1184-6. Review.
  85. Human Cloning and Human Dignity: An Ethical Inquiry. The President's Council on Bioethics. Washington, D.C., July 2002, position number one of the section entitled "the Moral Case for Cloning-for-Biomedical-Research."
  87. Alberio R, Campbell KH, Johnson AD. Reprogramming somatic cells into stem cells. Reproduction 2006 Nov;132(5):709-20.
  88. Wakayama T. On the road to therapeutic cloning. Nat Biotechnol. 2004 Apr; 22(4):399-400.
  89. Roberts PC, Lowe C. Where have all the conceptions gone? Lancet 1975; 498-499.
  90. Singer P, Karen Dawson. IVF Technology and the Argument from Potential, Philosophy and Public Affairs. 1988; 17(2):89-90.
  91. McMahan J. The Ethics of Killing - Problems at the Margins of Life, Oxford University Press, 2002, p.308
  92. Lanza RP, Caplan AL, Silver LM, Cibelli JB, West MD, Green RM. The ethical validity of using nuclear transfer in human
  93. transplantation. JAMA. 2000 Dec 27;284(24):3175-9, Ethics Institute, Dartmouth College, Hanover.
  94. Meissner A, Jaenisch R. Generation of nuclear transfer-derived pluripotent ES cells from cloned Cdx2-deficient blastocysts. Nature 2006 Jan 12; 439(7073):212-5.


Download data is not yet available.