LONDON, August 11, 2004 ( – Researchers at the University of Newcastle are set to commence cloning with human embryos after final authority was granted by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).  The go-ahead for Newcastle issued today, marks the first license for so-called therapeutic cloning to scientists.  Dr Miodrag Stojkovic, from the university’s Institute of Human Genetics, told the press: “We are all set up and ready to go immediately as soon as the paper work is sorted out.”  Despite objections from leading scientists in the UK and around the world, the human cloning will be allowed and publicly funded.

The UK-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has warned that Britain will regret allowing destructive experimentation on embryonic human beings created through cloning.  Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, explained, “Human cloning is unethical because it exploits and destroys the lives of countless human beings at their most vulnerable stage of development. Extracting stem cells from embryonic humans kills them”.  Ethicists around the world have warned that human cloning even for research purposes is dangerous because it will lead to so-called reproductive cloning. Professor Severino Antinori, one of the scientists who is attempting to bring a cloned human being to birth, thanked British PM Tony Blair for the government’s legalization of so-called therapeutic cloning, because it has made the birth of a cloned baby one step closer.

Ozimic concluded, “Human cloning is unnecessary because adult stem cell research, a rapidly advancing ethical alternative to embryo experimentation, is already providing treatments for the very same diseases that pro-cloning scientists claim to be interested in treating. Even in the unlikely event that experiments on embryos did prove to have some beneficial effect, it would still be unacceptable to use human beings in this way.”  See the BBC coverage:   jhw