Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews


Print Page Follow BioNews on Twitter BioNews RSS feed

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook



King's College London - Health: More than a medical matter





US embryonic stem cell bank to close after only four years

02 July 2012

By Ruth Retassie

Appeared in BioNews 663

The University of Massachusetts (UMass) Stem Cell Bank, opened in response to restrictions on the funding of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research in the USA, will close after just four years in existence when it runs out of public funding later this year. Changes in technology and the easing of federal restrictions have made the need for it obsolete, says the agency that first backed it.

The bank opened in 2008 with $8.6 million in state funding to store hESC lines during a time of limited federal support for hESC research under the presidency of George Bush. The cell lines were made available to scientists worldwide, which the bank started delivering in 2011.

'When this investment was made in 2007 it filled an important gap', said Angus McQuilken of the Life Sciences Center, Massachusetts, the body that awarded funds to the project.

However, when President Barack Obama's administration lifted the restrictions on the federal funding of hESC research, the UMass bank's function as a store for hESC lines that did not qualify for federal funding quickly became outdated. 'Stem cell lines are now more readily available from multiple sources', McQuilken said.

Some commentators have cited possible economic obstacles to stem cell banking as a reason for the closure. Executive director of WiCell Research Institute in Wisconsin, Erik Forsberg, explained that 'because the cost of banking and distributing this type of cell is quite high, it's hard to generate sufficient funds to make the operation sustainable'. However, researchers have expressed their support for the work the bank performed.

The UMass bank, which housed 12 available hESC lines, had worked in collaboration with the UK Stem Cell Bank to determine clinical uses for stem cell lines and to create standard types of cultures-mediums. Glyn Stacey, director of the UK Stem Cell Bank, said they were disappointed to lose 'a good valued collaborator in the field'.

'It does mean we really can't progress it in a more efficient way because we would have been spreading the load between the two banks. It's a shame we won't be able to share that work with them', he said.

Dr George Daley, director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Boston Children's Hospital, told the Boston Globe: 'I think the closing of the UMass bank, where we had anticipated maintaining a lot of our lines, means we will have to come up with an alternative'.

The Life Sciences Center will continue to maintain an online registry to store information regarding the availability of different cell lines. The cell lines at UMass will be sent to the original institutions once the bank closes and its equipment will be donated.

 

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Nature News Blog | 28 June 2012
 
Telegram | 29 June 2012
 
Boston.com | 28 June 2012
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

25 March 2013 - by Shanya Sivakumaran 
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine in San Francisco, USA, has awarded two multimillion-dollar grants to Cellular Dynamics International in Wisconsin and Coriell Institute for Medical Research in New Jersey to generate and bank iPS cell lines.... [Read More]
10 December 2012 - by Paola Quattroni 
Ten drugs companies and 23 European universities will work to develop a stem cell bank that researchers will use in fundamental disease research and to test potential new medicines... [Read More]

12 December 2011 - by Victoria Kay 
The world's first 'clinical grade' human embryonic stem cells have been donated to the UK Stem Cell Bank (UKSCB). The high quality cell lines are expected to become the gold standard for developing new cell-based therapies for serious medical conditions, including spinal cord injuries... [Read More]
01 August 2011 - by Dr Rebecca Robey 
A District Court judge in the US has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to ban federal funding for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research. The decision, by Judge Royce Lambeth, is the latest development in the case of Sherley v Sebelius – a landmark lawsuit filed against the US's state-funded National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2009... [Read More]
21 March 2011 - by MacKenna Roberts 
The UK Stem Cell Bank (UKSCB) has announced it has forged an affiliation with the recently established University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Human Stem Cell Bank and Registry for the exchange of stem cell technology and expertise. The banks will collaborate on various aspects of stem cell banking, including best practice standards and the delivery of stem cell lines for clinical use... [Read More]
14 February 2011 - by Leo Perfect 
The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has opened a stem cell research facility paid for by private and state money approved by Californian voters. As no federal funds were used, researchers can avoid federal funding policy restrictions on human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research.... [Read More]
16 August 2010 - by Dr Helen Busby 
The possibilities presented by the storage or 'banking' of stem cells from umbilical cord blood after birth have attracted considerable public and media interest since the early part of this decade... [Read More]

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to Login or Register to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

 


 

- click here to enquire about using this story.

Printer Friendly Page

Published by the Progress Educational Trust
RISK ASSESSMENT:
BREAST CANCER, PREDICTION AND SCREENING
FREE public event in central London, 6.30pm on Thursday 8 May 2014 - find out more HERE

ANNIVERSARY APPEAL
Please donate HERE, so that the Progress Educational Trust can continue throughout 2014 (and beyond) while keeping BioNews FREE for you to read

The Progress Educational Trust was shortlisted for the Charity Times Awards 2011

Advertise your products and services HERE - click for further details

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE, and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation