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Stem Cell Lines’ Viability & Number Questioned; Most Not in US

Scientists involved in the creation of existing stem cell lines are calling into question the quality and viability of the embryonic stem cell lines approved for use in government funded research. Monday the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a list of 64 stem cell lines created before August 9, 2001, the cutoff date for creation of stem cell lines that can be used in government research. In the days since, the labs listed by the NIH as owners of existing stem cell lines have voiced concern with the NIH’s dependence on those lines for future research. Scientists from the Gotenborg University in Sweden, listed by the NIH as having 19 stem cell lines, say that of those only 3 qualify as viable and existing. Reliance Life Sciences of India, listed as having 7 stem cell lines, has only 4 that have even begun to prove themselves as potential long-term sources. The statements of the scientists working on the stem cell lines contradict Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson’s claim at the time that Bush’s restriction on research was enacted, that existing stem cell lines are “diverse, they’re robust and they’re viable for research.”

Sources:

NY Times, Washington Post, AP - August 28, 2001