New Stem Cell Research Centers Funded by NIH
August 9, 2005
NIGMS Funds New Stem Cell Centers
Focus on Basic Biology, Training Scientists
Human embryonic stem cells have properties that make them uniquely valuable for studying virtually any cellular process. Despite their promise for research and therapeutic purposes, stem cells are difficult to grow in the laboratory and scientists do not know how to reliably direct them to become a specific cell type.
If we are to realize the tremendous potential of stem cells, we urgently need more fundamental knowledge about their basic biology and more scientists trained to work with them, said Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
To address these needs, NIGMS has funded three new Exploratory Centers for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research. These centers, which will receive an estimated $9 million over three years, join three others that the institute funded in September 2003. All of the centers are limited to using federally approved stem cell lines listed on the National Institutes of Health Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry.
These centers are a crucial step in establishing the infrastructure for scientists to address essential questions about human development and cell differentiation, said Marion M. Zatz, Ph.D., program director for the center grants.
Each center will establish a core facility to support and train scientists and to define the growth conditions and molecular characteristics required for maintaining human embryonic stem cells in an undifferentiated state. Scientists at the centers also will work on specific pilot projects to advance fundamental knowledge of human embryonic stem cell properties and functions.
The new centers are:
In addition to funding the six center grants, NIGMS supports individual grants and grant supplements to advance stem cell research.
To arrange an interview with Jeremy M. Berg or Marion M. Zatz, contact the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at 301-496-7301. More information about NIGMS initiatives related to human embryonic stem cells is available at http://www.nigms.nih.gov/funding/stemcells.html. More information on stem cells in general is available at http://stemcells.nih.gov/.
NIGMS (http://www.nigms.nih.gov) is one of 27 components of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NIGMS mission is to support basic biomedical research that lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The
Nation's Medical Research Agency — is comprised
of 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and
supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical
research, and investigates the causes, treatments,
and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more
information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.
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