Medical Definition of Therapeutic cloning

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Therapeutic cloning: Cloning designed as therapy for a disease. In therapeutic cloning, the nucleus of a cell, typically a skin cell, is inserted into a fertilized egg whose nucleus has been removed. The nucleated egg begins to divide repeatedly to form a blastocyst. Scientists then extract stem cells from the blastocyst and use them to grow cells that are a perfect genetic match for the patient. The cells created via therapeutic cloning can then be transplanted into the patient to treat a disease from which the patient suffers. In contrast to the goal of therapeutic cloning, the goal of reproductive cloning is to create a new individual, an idea that has stirred great controversy and met with almost uniform disapproval.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/25/2017

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