WASHINGTON, September 30, 2003 ( – In a stark reminder of the inevitable negative effects of political compromise on life, however slight, President Bush's 2001 okay for research on existing human embryonic stem cell lines has resulted in the expansion of publicly funded research on stem cells from living embryonic children who were killed in the process of extracting the stem cells.

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), an arm of the NIH, is funding three Exploratory Centers for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research. NIGMS is awarding $2.2 million for the first year of funding for the three 3-year awards, which over their lifetime are expected to total more than $6.3 million.

The source of the human embryonic stem cells is limited to federally approved stem cell lines listed on the National Institutes of Health Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry. Nevertheless, there are concerns as to how the research can practically be limited to the approved stem cell lines. As well, the expansion of this research is likely to pave the way for acceptance of much more unethical embryonic stem cell research.

The three new centre awards were made to: University of Washington, Seattle/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (C. Anthony Blau, M.D., principal investigator); University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor (K. Sue O'Shea, Ph.D., principal investigator); and WiCell Research Institute in Madison, Wisconsin (James Thomson, D.V.M., Ph.D., principal investigator).

The three new awards are the first exploratory centres involved in research on human embryonic stem cells to be funded by NIH. In addition, NIH has awarded grants for stem cell-related investigator-initiated research, training and career development as well as for stem cell preparation, testing and distribution. NIGMS has also recently awarded 14 administrative supplements to scientists at various academic institutions across the United States to rapidly incorporate research on human embryonic stem cells into their ongoing federally supported research goals. In effect, the NIH is promoting research with human embryonic stem cells with cash incentives.

See the Interim article “Bush OKs stem cell research”


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