The NIH Director
Statement from the Director on the Addition of New Lines to the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry
June 21, 2010
Today I am announcing the addition of 8 new lines to the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry. These include lines from the University of Connecticut, Advanced Cell Technology (in Santa Monica, California), and the University of New South Wales (in Australia). These lines were all recommended for approval by the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD), based on findings of the ACD Working Group for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Eligibility Review under Section IIB of the NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research.
This announcement also includes my approval of two lines from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, after NIH Administrative Review under Section IIA of the NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research.
I have also decided to concur with the recommendation of the ACD and not approve 47 lines submitted by the Reproductive Genetics Institute in Chicago, Illinois. The ACD recommended against approving the lines based on findings of the Working Group under Section IIB of the NIH Guidelines, due primarily to exculpatory language in the consent form for the donation of embryos for research. This use of exculpatory language (when someone is asked to give up or waive any rights they may have) was inconsistent with the basic ethical principle of voluntary consent.
With these decisions, 75 human embryonic stem cell lines have been determined to be eligible for NIH funding and are currently listed on the NIH stem cell registry (http://grants.nih.gov/stem_cells/registry/current.htm). Five of these are lines that were previously eligible under the Bush administration. Forty-eight lines have been disapproved.
On March 9, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13505: Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells. On July 7, 2009, the NIH Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research went into effect to implement the E.O., as it pertains to extramural NIH-funded stem cell research, establish policy and procedures under which the NIH will fund such research, and help ensure that NIH-funded research in this area is ethically responsible, scientifically worthy, and conducted in accordance with applicable law.
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
National Institutes of Health