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Stem cells recovered from cloned human embryos

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NEW YORK — Scientists have finally recovered stem cells from cloned human embryos, a longstanding goal that could lead to new treatments for such illnesses as Parkinson’s disease and diabetes.

A prominent expert called the work a landmark, but noted that a different, simpler technique now under development may prove more useful.

Stem cells can turn into any cell of the body, so scientists are interested in using them to create tissue for treating disease. Transplanting brain tissue might treat Parkinson’s disorder, for example, and pancreatic tissue might be used for diabetes.

But transplants run the risk of rejection, so more than a decade ago, researchers proposed a way around that: Create tissue from stem cells that bear the patient’s own DNA, obtained with a process called therapeutic cloning.

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