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Writing for Study and Research

(make-up essay for missed class)

Franziska Lehne

Unit Six Writing Critiques


Task Eighteen (p. 270)
Reaction Paper

Personal Reaction:
Human Embryonic Stem Cells Derived
by Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer
The research paper Human Embryonic Stem Cells Derived by Somatic Cell
Nuclear Transfer, published 2013 in the well-recognized journal Cell, reports
the first successful production of embryonic stems cells (ESCs) from human
oocytes by nuclear transfer. The study is a collaborative work of the Oregon
National Primate Research Center and the Oregon Health and Science
University. Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) is a process known from
animal cloning as seen in the famous sheep Dolly. But there has been a
roadblock for human ESCs so far: the somatic cells tend to arrest in an early
embryonic stage thus no progression beyond the eight-cell stage can be
observed. The researcher suggested that the arrest is due to a failure in
activation of critical embryonic genes from the somatic donor cell nucleus.
However, all underlying causes are still unknown. Nevertheless, the authors
were able to adjust a protocol developed in a monkey model to human oocytes
where the presence of caffeine during enucleation of the oocytes and fusion
with somatic cells led to retention of meiotic activity and ESC line derivation.
Moreover, they identified the critical steps for cellular reprogramming and
improved blastocyst development. All in all, the researcher overcame the past
difficulties in producing human nuclear transfer ESCs and disproved former
assumptions that the derivation of ESCs via SCNT would require an inordinate
number of oocytes therefore making this technique unavailable for widespread
therapeutic use.
The production of pluripotent ESCs has long been a vision in medicine for
usage in therapy of cancer and regenerative diseases such as Alzheimers or
1

Writing for Study and Research


(make-up essay for missed class)
Parkinsons

disease.

With

todays

Franziska Lehne

technical

capabilities,

cost

reduction

potential, and scientific understanding this vision can soon become reality. This
paper, in my opinion, smoothens the way to personalized medicine and long
term effective therapies where immune reaction or rejections belong to the
past. However, one should not become larksome and headily. Even though a
new protocol for ESC production is developed it has not been established, yet.
But it is a step further in the right direction. In the future, patients might be
healed from todays incurable diseases. Though, thinking futuristically, offering
a widespread therapeutic application requires plenty high quality oocyte
donors. In here might lie the crux of the matter. Enough women with oocytes
usable for this procedure have to be willing to donate their eggs. The
willingness of donors might be impeded by the vernacular expression
therapeutic cloning. This could, and as I think will, give rise to many critiques
of the process. The word cloning always implements a bad, ungodly creation
of life. Of course, in my scientific driven mind, this is not true and SCNT offers
wonderful opportunities, but the majority of people are not scientists. So I
believe, along with future research there should be enough elucidation of the
first world population that will be the beneficiate of the research, to minimize
possible rejections of this hopefully curative therapeutic approach.