The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced that 13 additional lines of human embryonic stem cells are eligible for federal funding, including a line that is "the most widely used," according the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR), a group of which the Academy is a member.
The approval includes nine lines that have not previously been eligible for funding and four long used lines derived by researchers at the University of Wisconsin.
"It's an important step forward," said Lisa Hughes, president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research. "This is great news, too, for those in the patient community who continue to wait for better treatments and cures."
Back in March 2009, President Obama signed an executive order that lifted restrictions and federal funding for embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). This executive order does not fund creation of new lines of stem cells, but does allow scientists who are federally funded to conduct research on more than 400 existing lines of stem cells that were previously off limits.
The Academy has long supported state and federal legislation to expand the range of embryonic stem-cell lines eligible for government funding, and to promote high standards of scientific and ethical scrutiny for ESCR.