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A Few Cells Create a Kidney and a New Life
Portrait of Shauna Anderson

Media: digital
©2002 Hunter O'Reilly, Ph.D.

Shauna Anderson, pictured in the lower right, was born with normal functioning kidneys. Exposure to hemolytic streptococci several times in her childhood caused her kidneys to slowly fail. An image of streptococci adorns her wrist.

Streptococci adorns her wrist.


Therapeutic cloning, creating a kidney using stem cells from a cloned embryo, using Shauna Anderson's DNA has the potential to give her a normal life. In therapeutic cloning, stem cells are taken from a cloned embryo never intended to be implanted in a woman's uterus. Therapeutic cloning does NOT include harvesting organs from a developed human clone, a common horrifying misconception. Electron micrographs of a developing mouse embryo are shown in the left center. The background is an image of mouse embryonic stem cells representing the potential of stem cells to develop into many tissues and organs.

Electron micrographs of a developing mouse embryo

At seventeen years old Shauna's kidneys completely failed and her father donated a kidney for a transplant, but due to an exposure to a Cytomegolovirus (CMV) in a blood transfusion the kidney transplanted only lasted for five years. A crown of circles on her head and one to the left are images of CMV. Her mother donated a kidney for her second transplant. Her mother and father each with a cross-section of a kidney are pictured in the upper left.


Due to taking immunosuppressant drugs, Shauna has endured many side effects including fragile bones. Two x-rays of a broken arm are pictures in the upper and lower right. If Shauna had a kidney cloned using her DNA, immunosuppressant drugs would no longer be needed.


X-ray of a broken arm

At twenty-seven years old Shauna Anderson is in kidney failure for the third time in her life. She has no prospects for a living related donor. While she is waiting for a kidney, she undergoes dialysis, a very painful and physically draining ordeal. The images of kidneys and a kidney transplant surgery are prominent in this artwork representing the unfortunate daily reality Shauna Anderson must face. A few cloned stem cells may give her a new life.

Kidney transplant surgery


Cross-section of a kidney

The image of mouse embryonic stem cells in the background of the digital artwork was generously provided by Biotechniques: The Journal of Laboratory Technology for Bioresearch, Eaton Publishing and Corinne R. Greco.


Copyright © 2002 Hunter O'Reilly, Ph.D.