Insoo Hyun is Associate Professor at the Department of Bioethics and Director of the CWRU Stem Cell Ethics Center. In the Nature journal, he responds to recent publications on therapeutic cloning involving the creation and destruction of embryos for research.
Heading towards an increased demand for cloned embryos. “The repeated cloning of embryos and the generation of stem cells from adult cells increase the risk of producing human embryos for treatments intended for certain specific individuals“. As far as he is concerned, given the new techniques available, scientists will want to compare the therapeutic potential of cloned embryo stem cells with that of IPS cells. This would lead to an ever-increasing demand for embryos cloned from patients with different diseases.
He is therefore calling for a regulatory framework. First of all, he has identified two spectra which, in his opinion, can be avoided: the cloning of human children and a future in which human embryos will be brutally created and destroyed for research. Today, in the United States, in the absence of any ethical guidelines, Insoo Hyun suggests reinstating the committees introduced by the Bush Government through the US National Academy of Science. The latter recommended that all institutions using embryo stem cell research should introduce committees to which scientists should submit their protocols for approval prior to beginning their research. These committees still exist and, according to Insoo Hyun, should extend their remit to “consider every situation in which embryos could be created”. He is already raising the limits surrounding this proposal given the lack of expertise of these committees.