NIH has awarded a $10 million, 5-year grant to the University of Washington to study the basic biology of human embryonic stem cells. The award—one of two, the other going to the Baylor University—is from the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences, one of the Institutes within NIH. Research funded by the grant is limited to the 21 human embryonic stem cell lines approved by President Bush in August 2001.
The UW research program is comprised of four projects and a human embryonic stem cell core laboratory directed by Dr. Carol Ware, UW associate professor of Comparative Medicine. The program is led by C. Anthony Blau, MD, professor of medicine and hematology and co-director of the UW Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine. Blau’s team will study the pathways human embryonic stem cells use to self-renew and how they differentiate into heart muscle cells and retinal nerve cells.
"This funding will enable us to dramatically expand the work begun in 2003, when we were first funded as the University of Washington / Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Exploratory Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research," Blau said. "To date, our human embryonic stem cell core lab has acquired and characterized 14 of the 21 NIH-approved human embryonic stem cell lines, and has assisted 18 laboratories in work related to this research."
Illustration: Embryonic stem cell colony. – Wikipedia.
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