The U.S. government approved the first 13 batches of human embryonic stem cells on Wednesday, enabling researchers using them to get millions of dollars in federal funding as promised by President Barack Obama in March.
“Today we are announcing the approval of the first 13 stem cell lines,” Collins told reporters in a telephone briefing.
In March, Obama lifted restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research imposed by his predecessor, George W. Bush.
He could not lift a restriction set by Congress, called the Dickey-Wicker amendment, that forbids the use of federal money to make the stem cells, which require destruction of a human embryo. But the decision made it possible for researchers to use federal funds to work with cells that others have made.
The NIH set up a panel to decide which stem cell lines met strict ethical restrictions. The cells, for instance, have to have been made using an embryo donated from leftovers at fertility clinics, and parents must have signed detailed consent forms.
Stem cells are the body’s ultimate master cells. They make up days-old embryos and have the power to give rise to all the cells and tissues in the body (…)
Eleven of the lines were made by Dr. George Daley of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute in Massachusetts. He said his lab started making the stem cells in 2006 using private donations and is looking forward to getting federal money.
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