Thursday, December 03, 2009

NIH Approves First Embryo Stem Cell Lines under Obama Executive Order

By James Tillman

WASHINGTON, DC, December 3, 2009 ( -- Yesterday the federal U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) approved the first new 13 human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines for use in NIH-funded medical research. The approval is the result of an executive order issued last March, when President Obama overturned President Bush's ban of the use of new hESC lines in federally-funded research.

"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," said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH. "In accordance with the guidelines, these stem cell lines were derived from embryos that were donated under ethically sound informed consent processes."

President Bush had banned the federal funding of any hESC lines produced after August 9, 2001, because of the ethical problems involved in creating and using such lines. The hESC lines are created by destroying the "excess" embryos produced by fertility clinics; after the embryo is destroyed, stem cells reproduce by themselves to make a stable and reusable line. Read more.

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Learn more about adult and embryonic stem cells at

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