NIH Approves More Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines

By David Prentice

Dr. David Prentice

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins has approved four more human embryonic stem cell lines as eligible for federal taxpayer funding. The latest approval raises the  total number of human embryonic stem cell lines at the federal trough to 146. The four new lines are all from UCLA.

The latest approvals come less than a month after Collins approved new lines from the University of Queensland, Australia. (See below.)

The new human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines, designated by the deriving lab as “UCLA 7″, “UCLA 8,″ “UCLA 9″, and “UCLA 10,″ join six previous UCLA lines approved by NIH for taxpayer funding (UCLA 1-3 approved April 27, 2010, and UCLA 4-6 approved February 3, 2011). All of the lines were apparently derived from human embryos after the new NIH guidelines went into effect in July 2009. NIH doesn’t provide details on the cells themselves or their derivation.

The approval of the new lines from the University of Queensland, Australia, just prior to Christmas was not all that surprising. The “Stem Cell Working Group” at the December 9, 2011, meeting of the Director’s Advisory Committee, recommended their approval.

However, those four hESC lines were not approved for clinical use. Subsequent to the meeting, NIH also approved two other hESC lines, from Mt. Sinai Hospital in Canada. Those two lines are also restricted.

While NIH continues to waste taxpayer funds on destructive embryo research, adult stem cells continue to provide the gold standard for patient treatment.Published scientific evidence continues to show effectiveness of adult stem cells in helping patients with angina pain, aggressive multiple sclerosis, enlarged hearts, systemic sclerosis, and creating new windpipes, to name just a few examples of adult stem cell successes.

Dr. David Prentice is Senior Fellow for Life Sciences at Family Research Council. This appeared in a different form at the blog of the Family Research Council, www.frcblog.com