07 Dec UW-Madison, WARF want federal funding for new stem cell technique
Madison, Wis. – President Bush recently praised a breakthrough technique to derive embryonic stem cells without destroying human embryos, but stopped short of committing federal money to support the research.
Now, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is calling on the federal government to do just that. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the university’s licensing arm, is calling on the federal government to provide funding for its new embryonic stem cell research technique.
WARF has asked the National Institutes of Health to provide it with money to create cell lines using the technique, which involves reprogramming skin cells to act like embryonic stem cells.
The technique was developed by team of researchers in Wisconsin and Japan, including UW-Madison professor of anatomy James Thomson, who was the first to isolate and culture human embryonic stem cells. Thomson has said the new technique induces skin cells to do all the things embryonic stem cells do, and he predicted it would “completely change the field.”
Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of WARF, told the Associated Press that NIH seems enthusiastic about funding the research and that talks continue.
The National Stem Cell Bank in Madison would create the lines and distribute them to researchers. The bank, which is located at the WiCell Research Institute, a subsidiary of WARF, already has 14 of the 21 existing embryonic stem cell lines that receive federal funding.
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