Updated on 12 March 2014
Sir John Gurdon - The 2012 Nobel Prize winner for Physiology or Medicine (Source: Nobelprize.org)
Sir John Gurdon, the 2012 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine, says that all cells in the body are made up of a similar constitution and that adult cells can nowadays be programmed with ease. He also says that replacement of all non functional cells can become a real phenomenon, if we deal with the administrative problems.
Dr Gurdon speaks exclusively to BioSpectrum on a wide variety of topics ranging from the hardships faced by today's stem cell researchers to the future of cloning. The excerpts are as follows:
Where do you see cloning 10 years from now?
Cloning will only become more efficient as time progresses. The process and outcome of cloning can be only as efficient as a sperm. A sperm is a very specialized cell. It fertilizes the egg and immediately attains 100 percent efficiency. However, when we do a cloning experiment, similar efficiencies are not observed. Our goal should be to strive to make this process better.
How do we monitor the doctors and the procedures used by them in cloning techniques? Is there a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the same?
In order to ensure that the same protocols are followed we need to train the personnel, like we would do for any other science, say for example a cataract surgery. The crucial question is, whether the doctor should be prosecuted if he fails to carry out the protocols effectively.
Moreover, companies that deal in such procedures should ensure that their staff is not inclined towards any particular brand or protocol. They need to remain uncommitted and neutral in their approach and should never persuade the patients.