Researcher: W-S could see cloning become cottage industry
Mick Normington
The Business Journal, Mar 19, 2004

In discussing the economic possibilities and the ethics of medical cloning, Dr. Kent Vrana sees Winston-Salem littered with companies cloning human body parts and conducting cloning research.


"I think 10 years from now, this is going to be a hopping place with all kinds of cottage industries," said Vrana, the former director of graduate studies at Wake Forest University Medical Center and now the chairman of pharmacology at the Penn State University College of Medicine. "It's only going to get better for the economic environment."

Vrana spoke Thursday evening to Triad health industry executives and physicians as part of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce's life sciences speaker series.

Vrana points out that Louise Brown, the world's first "test tube baby" celebrated her 25th birthday recently. And from that medical breakthrough, the world of cloning took a giant step forward and now thousands of in vitro human conceptions are done each year.

"Remember 25 years ago how upset we were at in vitro fertilization, that's how therapeutic cloning will become, I think," Vrana said.

Vrana supports "therapeutic cloning," which involves using human cells to reproduce or clone human organs. He does not support "reproductive cloning," which involves cloning entire human beings.

He noted that Dr. Anthony Atala, who Wake Forest recently swiped from Harvard University, is already successfully making a human bladder and has also demonstrated initial success at making a uterus also from outside a human body. That kind of medical technology will attract similar medical researchers and their companies to Winston-Salem in the next few years.

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