US Identifies Firms With Stem Cell Lines

By PAUL RECER c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (Aug. 27, 2001) - The National Institutes of Health on Monday identified 10 companies and research laboratories with embryonic stem cell colonies that the Bush administration says are eligible for federal research funds.

The groups have a combined 64 stem cell lines, derived from 64 ''genetically diverse'' embryos, the NIH said in an announcement on its Web site.

''The NIH has met or spoken extensively with each of the investigators who have derived these cells,'' the announcement said. ''These scientists are very interested in working with the NIH and the research community.''

Scientists who developed the cell lines, or self-replenishing colonies, reported that some have been tested in lab mice and show that they are able to transform into other types of cells.

Embryonic stem cells are the precursors to all the 200 or so cell types in the body. Researchers hope to be able to direct this transformation to make cells that could be used to treat diabetes, Parkinson's, heart diseases or other disorders. Producing the stem cells, however, requires the death of a human embryo, which is opposed by many people.

Bush, after weeks of studying the issue, announced Aug. 9 that he would permit federal funding using stem cell lines that had been produced before that date. This meant, he said, that no more human embryos would be killed to advance federally funded research.

AP-NY-08-27-01 1003EDT

Copyright 2001 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

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