07 Jan WiCell wants to bank new stem cell lines
Madison, Wis. – New stem cell lines that are derived from a promising new technique should be housed and distributed by the WiCell Research Institute, says Carl Gulbrandsen, president of WiCell.
According to a report in the Appleton Post Crescent, Gulbrandsen has told the National Institutes of Health that WiCell would like to house and distribute the new cell lines. WiCell, a subsidiary of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, already is home to the National Stem Cell Bank, which now has 17 of the 21 existing embryonic stem cell lines that receive federal funding.
Gulbrandsen, who also is the managing director of WARF, said WiCell has the staff expertise and skill sets to handle the new lines, and that the bank’s distribution would relieve demands on University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist Jamie Thomson.
Thomson, who was the first to isolate human embryonic stem cells, has received a number of requests for his cells since the discovery was reported, Gulbrandsen said. Thomson and other scientists at UW-Madison and in Japan announced in November that they have developed a new technique that can turn human skin cells into stem cells.
That discovery raised hopes for increased federal funding for embryonic stem cell research because the new technique does not involve the destruction of embryos in order to derive stem cells. If perfected in validation tests, the technique could eliminate the ethical questions that have been raised by embryonic stem cell research.
Scientists believe these cells hold the promise for medical breakthroughs because they can become virtually any kind of cell in the human body.
Last month, UW-Madison called on the NIH to provide it with federal funding to create cell lines using the new technique.
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