ANN ARBOR, Mich. The University of Michigan's first human embryonic stem cell line will be placed on the U.S. National Institutes of Health's registry, making the cells available for federally-funded research. It is the first of the stem cell lines derived at the University of Michigan to be placed on the registry.
The line, known as UM4-6, is a genetically normal line, derived in October 2010 from a cluster of about 30 cells removed from a donated five-day-old embryo roughly the size of the period at the end of this sentence. That embryo was created for reproduction but was no longer needed for that purpose and was therefore about to be discarded.
"This is significant, because acceptance of these cells on the registry demonstrates our attention to details of proper oversight, consenting, and following of NIH guidelines established in 2009," says Gary Smith, Ph.D., who derived the line and also is co-director of the U-M Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies, part of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute.
"It now makes the line available to researchers who can apply for federal funding to use it in their work; this is an important step."
The line is the culmination of years of planning and preparation and was made possible by Michigan voters' November 2008 approval of a state constitutional amendment permitting scientists here to derive embryonic stem cell lines using surplus embryos from fertility clinics or embryos with genetic abnormalities and not suitable for implantation.
"We expect these cells will be used by investigators worldwide to enhance our understanding of stem cell biology, and together with disease-specific lines, discover treatments and cures for genetic diseases," says Smith, who is a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical School.
U-M is among just a handful of U.S. universities creating human embryonic stem cell lines. There are only
|Contact: Mary F. Masson|
University of Michigan Health System