Friday, April 17, 2009

CIRM Able to Fund Research Excluded by Proposed NIH Regulations

The California stem cell agency today said that the proposed NIH regulations for human embryonic stem cell research are "largely consistent" with the state regulations, although CIRM will be able to fund projects that would be barred from federal funds.

The agency issued a news release on the matter this afternoon. It said,
"The conditions required by the NIH are largely consistent with requirements CIRM has developed for derivation performed by our grantees, according to Geoff Lomax, senior officer for medical and ethical standards. 'For our grantees working with lines derived under CIRM standards, these regulations open the door to broader sources of funding, expanding important research in California,' Lomax said.

"Lomax said that under both sets of guidelines, researchers hoping to use a particular stem cell line must prove that the couple who donated the embryo knew that they would not personally benefit from the work, that they would not benefit from possible commercial applications of the cells, and that they could not place restrictions on the type of research performed with the cell line, among other conditions. He added that CIRM may need to make a minor revision to its regulations requiring that couples be specifically informed of all options for disposing of their excess embryos before donating to research.

"Lomax added that there are important avenues of research funded by CIRM that are prohibited under the draft regulations. These include the creation of new stem cell lines, and any work with lines created through nuclear transfer (sometimes called therapeutic cloning) or parthenogenesis, in which the egg is stimulated to begin division without fertilization.

"'CIRM remains a critical source of funding in California for work that is not eligible for funding by the NIH but that has important scientific value,' Lomax said. For example, embryonic stem cell lines created through parthenogenesis are genetically identical to the donor and could be an important source of stem cells for therapies."
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