Wednesday, July 24, 2013

UCLA Researcher Calls for Easing of Restrictions on Stem Cell Lines Derived from Eggs From Paid Providers

A UCLA researcher has spoken out in support of a proposal to allow use of California stem cell agency funds to purchase stem cell lines derived from eggs provided by women who have been paid for the service.

Kathrin Plath, an associate professor, said in a letter to the agency that she and her colleagues would like to use a line from the Oregon SCNT experiment by Shoukhrat Mitalipov in which human stem cells were cloned. Currently agency funds cannot be used for that purpose as a result of regulations that are the extension of a state law that bars use of agency funds for payment for eggs.

The agency's standards group meets later today to consider changing those regulations. The proposal will then go before the full board tomorrow.

Plath, who has received $5 million from CIRM, said,
“In my lab, we are ... interested in understanding what happens to the somatically silenced X chromosome when differentiated cells are reprogrammed by SCNT. The key question is: are these SCNT-ESCs more similar to iPSCs or fertilization-derived ESCs with respect to the epigenetic state of the X chromosome. Furthermore, it has been shown in mouse reprogramming that the active X chromosome becomes deregulated during SCNT-based reprogramming, and we would like to address this problem in the human system as well.
“We believe that the comparison of the epigenetic states between fertilization-derived ESCs, SCNT-ESCs and human iPSCs is important for a better characterization of these cells and understanding of their epigenetic nature.”

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