Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Designer babies / Saviour siblings. Yikes.

Five 'designer babies' created for stem cells| New Scientist
"Five healthy babies have been born to provide stem cells for siblings with serious non-heritable conditions. This is the first time 'saviour siblings' have been created to treat children whose condition is not genetic, says the medical team.

The five babies were born after a technique called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) was used to test embryos for a tissue type match to the ailing siblings, reports the team, led by Anver Kuliev at the Reproductive Genetics Institute in Chicago, US.

The aim in these cases was to provide stem cells for transplantation to children who are suffering from leukaemia and a rare condition called Diamond-Blackfan anaemia (DBA).

'It's a big step, because it gives people another option,' says Mohammed Taranissi, at the Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre, London, UK, one of the team. 'Before that the only option was to look in the siblings and immediate family to see if you had a match or alternatively to just keep trying [to have a baby which matches].'"


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