- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Scientists got a green light Wednesday to apply for use of 13 embryonic stem cell lines from an approved list developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the government’s prime medical research agency.

In making the announcement, Dr. Francis S. Collins, NIH director, said that the decision was in accord with guidelines adopted in July and that more lines are likely to be added in the future.

President Obama in the spring lifted eight years of restrictions on such cells that had limited public tax money from being used on some 21 previously approved lines. It was expected that the new administration would change the policies, but it took time to review the lines now being offered.

The stem cell lines, created by Children’s Hospital Boston and Rockefeller University, “were derived from embryos that were donated under ethically sound, informed-consent processes,” Dr. Collins stated.

The decision allows scientists to obtain federal funding for projects that explore new treatments for diseases, conditions and disabilities and to help test the safety of new drugs in the laboratory. Previously, they only could do such work using embryonic stem cells under private grants.

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