- The Washington Times - Monday, March 1, 2004

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Harvard University plans to launch a multimillion-dollar center to grow and study human embryonic stem cells, the school announced yesterday.

The center is expected to be the largest privately funded American stem-cell research project to date.

It must use private funds to create new lines of stem cells because President Bush has limited federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research to existing lines of cells. To harvest stem cells, researchers must kill days-old embryos.

Harvard released a statement yesterday confirming its plans, saying the school is “proceeding in the direction of establishing a stem-cell institute.”

The final details were not complete, the statement said.

“This is very important science that has really enormous prospects to benefit humankind,” Provost Steven E. Hyman said. “Throughout the Harvard system, we have scientists working on different aspects of stem cells. The goal here is to bring them together to create a very strong effort.”

Harvard has not decided how much money needs to be raised for the center, Mr. Hyman said. Scientists involved told the Boston Sunday Globe that the fund-raising goal is about $100 million.

“Harvard has the resources, Harvard has the breadth, and frankly, Harvard has the responsibility to take up the slack that the government is leaving,” said George Q. Daley, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital.

The center, tentatively called the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, would bring together researchers from the university and its affiliated hospitals. About 20 researchers now are working on planning for the center, Mr. Hyman said.

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