Thompson Announces First NIH Grants for Stem Cell Research
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Friday announced the recipients of the first four NIH grants for human embryonic stem cell research since President Bush approved limited funding for such research in August, the AP/New York Times reports (AP/New York Times, 4/28). The four research institutions will receive a total of $3.5 million in "infrastructure grants" to cover the cost of "expanding, testing and shipping" stem cells to researchers worldwide. The grantees include the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which owns five stem cell lines; the University of California-San Francisco, which has two stem cell lines; ES Cell International, a biotech company based in Australia and Singapore that maintains six cell lines; and Cellsaurus, a subsidiary of Australian biotech firm BresaGen, which has four stem cell lines. Thompson said, "This brings to 17 the number of embryonic stem cell lines that are available" to researchers hoping to tap the cells' "unparalleled potential" (Marchione, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/27). The first grants for specific research on stem cells are expected to be announced in late May or early June, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/27).