NIH moves forward with expanded funding for stem cell research
September 21, 2009 | 12:25 pm
The National Institutes of Health moved closer today to fulfilling President Obama’s pledge to expand the number of stem cell lines eligible for use in federally funded research projects.
Dr. Francis Collins, the NIH’s new director, named members of a working group that will vet applications from researchers who want to add specific lines of human embryonic stem cells to the agency’s official stem cell registry. The group’s analysis will go to an NIH advisory committee, which will make recommendations to Collins, who will make the final decision about whether a particular cell line is acceptable.
To be eligible for federal funding, embryonic stem cell lines derived since July 9 – when the new rules went into effect – must meet strict ethical rules for embryo donation and informed consent. For instance, fertility clinic patients who are interested in donating their excess embryos to medical researchers must give their consent on two separate occasions. It must also be made explicit that their embryos will be destroyed if they are used to make stem cell lines.