Today, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the approval of the first 13* human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines for use in NIH-funded research. Children’s Hospital in Boston developed 11 of the approved lines and Rockefeller University in New York City developed two additional lines.
All of the approved lines were obtained from embryos left over by couples seeking treatment for infertility who consented to their use for research under the NIH’s Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research.
In making the announcement, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., said
“I am happy to say that we now have human embryonic stem cell lines eligible for use by our research community under our new stem cell policy. In accordance with the guidelines, these stem cell lines were derived from embryos that were donated under ethically sound informed consent processes. More lines are under review now, and we anticipate continuing to expand this list of responsibly derived lines eligible for NIH funding.”
More than 30 NIH grants funded in the 2009 fiscal year totaling more than $20 million proposed to use hESCs. These grants have been restricted until approved lines became available on the NIH registry. This group of grants includes research using hESCs for the therapeutic regeneration of diseased or damaged heart muscle cells, developing systems for the production of neural stem cells and different types of neurons from hESCs in culture, and developing a cell culture system for the large scale production and self-renewal of hESCs.
With today’s announcement and following NIH approval, these grantees may obtain registry-listed hESCs, if they are appropriate for their project, from the owners of the lines and proceed with their research.
The NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry of approved hESCs is available online. You can also obtain additional resources and more information on stem cells and NIH research from the NIH online.
C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition believes that stem cell research holds promise for expanding medical breakthroughs, and we support federal funding and policies that will give the researchers the tools they need to fight cancer and other diseases. That is why in January 2007, we chose to add our name to a letter that was sent to the US Senate and House of Representatives and signed by over 500 patient advocacy groups, health organizations, research universities, scientific societies, and religious groups. Read more about C3’s support for stem cell research.
An additional 96 lines have been submitted to NIH for either internal administrative review or consideration by the external Working Group for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Eligibility Review and the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD), including more than 20 that will be considered by the ACD on December 4.
We will keep you updated on any new developments.
*Since this information was released, the number of available stem cell lines increased to 27.