Page URL:

Bush stem-cell lines have brighter future

1 February 2010
Appeared in BioNews 543

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has approved the first human embryonic stem cell (ES cell) line from the George W Bush era, according to Nature News. It will be included on the National Stem Cell Registry (NSCR), ensuring its eligibility for federal funding.

Since President Obama's reversal of his predecessor's restrictive policy vis-à-vis research involving ES cells, the fate of 21 stem cell lines approved under the Bush regime has been uncertain. The NIH's release last summer of new ethical guidelines for federal funding of ES research added to these doubts, the Nature report suggests. Scientists were unsure whether they could continue research on these cell lines.

The Bush-approved H1 stem-cell line, as it is known, was submitted for NIH approval by the WiCell Research Institute in Madison, Wisconsin. On 22 January 2009, the advisory committee to the Director of the NIH recommended that the H1 line be included on the NSCR, and it was then officially added to the registry. 'We are extremely pleased H1 will continue to be eligible for government funding so that the hundreds of scientists, who have built their research upon its use, can continue their work and discoveries without disruption', said Erik Forsberg, Executive Director of WiCell in a press release.

The H1 line was derived in 1998 by James Thomson, Director of Regenerative Biology at the Morgridge Institute for Research and Professor of Anatomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is among the most widely-used cell lines in the world, and cited in 60.9 per cent of the published literature on ES cell research, according to a Nature Biotechnology survey.

NIH regulations permit human stem cells to be combined with the cells of non-primate animals. But researchers using the H1 cells are prohibited from mixing them with cells from human or animal embryos, according to the wishes of the H1 line's donors. These limitations have precedent. According to The Scientist, 27 lines from Harvard University were approved in December provided they were only used for diabetes-related pancreatic research.

Francis Collins, Director of the NIH, reportedly said this approach would become the 'general policy' of the NIH and that research 'should honor the exact wording [regarding the use of the donated embryos] as written in the informed consent forms'. The exact language of the consent forms will be posted on the NSCR.

WiCell now plans to submit the H9 stem-cell line, along with three other lines, for inclusion on the NSCR. According to a University of Wisconsin-Madison press release, the H9 line was derived in 1998, also by Thomson, and is cited in 83 per cent of published stem-cell research papers. At present there are 42 stem-cell lines on the NSCR.

Bush stem cell line ok for approval
The Scientist |  22 January 2010
NIH approves Wisconsin H1 stem-cell line for continued use in federally funded research
University of Wisconsin-Madison press release |  29 January 2010
Stem-cell line given the nod
Nature |  25 January 2010
11 April 2011 - by Nishat Hyder 
The American states of Minnesota and Oklahoma are both in the process of passing legislation that will criminalise certain embryonic stem (ES) cell research procedures....
14 February 2011 - by Rosemary Paxman 
France's parliament is to debate on whether current bioethics laws prohibiting research on human embryos should be eased....
31 August 2010 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A ruling of a district federal judge has halted federally-funded embryonic stem cell research in the United States...
2 August 2010 - by Dr Nadeem Shaikh 
Research scientists from Bristol University have received funding from Catholic parishioners, to use adult stem cells for therapeutic applications, reports the BBC....
4 May 2010 - by Dr Nadeem Shaikh 
US-based scientists working on embryonic stem cell (ES cell) research are relieved that the most important cell lines in their field have been approved for research by new government guidelines. During the Bush administration, US government funding for research involving ES cells was restricted to just 20 cell lines, all of which were in existence before 9 August 2001...
11 December 2009 - by Nishat Hyder 
Regulators in the US have approved 13 new human embryonic stem cell (ES cell)lines - the first to be approved since President Obama lifted the restriction on stem cell research earlier this year in March. The 13 stem cell lines are the first the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has approved under the ethical guidelines that were unveiled in July; they are also the first new stem cells lines available to US scientists in almost a decade. It is hoped that the new lines, which are of
to add a Comment.

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

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.