The National Institute of Health (NIH) announced the approval of the first 13 human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines for use in NIH-funded research under the NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research adopted in July 2009.
Children’s Hospital Boston developed 11 of the approved lines and Rockefeller University in New York City developed two of the approved lines. An additional 96 lines have been submitted to NIH for either internal administrative review or consideration by the external Working Group for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Eligibility Review and the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD), including more than 20 that will be considered by the ACD on December 4, 2009. The working group provides findings to the ACD, which makes recommendations to the NIH Director, who decides whether the hESCs may be used in NIH-funded research and lists those deemed eligible on the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry.
Research using hESCs is already yielding information about the complex events that occur during human development. Researchers hope that eventually cells differentiated from hESCs may be used to treat a myriad of diseases, conditions, and disabilities and to test the safety of new drugs in the laboratory.
The New NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research were published on July 7, 2009, following President Obama’s Executive Order 13505: Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cell issued March 9, 2009.
JDRF Executive Vice President Larry Soler commented on the announcement saying “It is important that the NIH is moving quickly to approve the use of cell lines that hold the promise of moving research forward towards better treatments and cures for people with diabetes and with a range of other diseases and disabilities. We thank the NIH for renewing hope for a cure, and for taking a leadership role in ensuring that this research is undertaken with the highest of scientific and ethical standards.”