13 added batches now available, many more to come, NIH director says,,
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Thirteen stem cell lines have been added to the pool that scientists can use for taxpayer-funded research, and many more such lines will soon be made available, U.S. health officials announced Wednesday.
These are the first additional embryonic stem cell lines approved for research funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) since President Barack Obama last spring lifted restrictions on stem cell research that were imposed eight years ago by then-President George W. Bush.
"With these [lines] now becoming available for federally funded researchers, we believe it will speed up the process of investigating ways in which this remarkable new area of developmental biology can be explored," NIH director Dr. Francis S. Collins said during an afternoon teleconference Wednesday.
"The field has been waiting with bated breath for this announcement," one expert, Dr George Daley of Children's Hospital Boston, told the Associated Press. Eleven of the 13 stem cell lines approved Wednesday were developed at Children's, Collins noted, while the other two come from Rockefeller University in New York City.
Collins noted that over the past eight years, hundreds of embryonic stem cell lines have been created using private funds. "Many of them with more favorable characteristics for research purposes than the original ones approved by President Bush," he said.
Citing ethical issues, the Bush administration had limited federally funded research to about 21 stem cell lines already in existence in August 2001. That decision ignited a firestorm of controversy between those who advocated that human embryos should not be tampered with and those who viewed stem cell research as a potential pathway to curing a host of diseases.
Currently, 96 more human embryonic stem cell lines are under
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