Office of Extramural Research
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"This award to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation represents one of the first major expenditures by the NIH for supporting human embryonic stem cell research," said Ruth Kirschstein, M.D., Acting NIH Director. "By providing these funds, the NIH is hoping to get these cells into the hands of basic scientists as quickly as possible."
Along with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, three other entities will receive an infrastructure enhancement award: Cellsaurus, a subsidiary of Bresagen, of Athens, Georgia; ES Cell International Pte. Ltd., of Singapore and Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; and the University of California, San Francisco. The four awardees are listed on the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry, http://escr.nih.gov, and have a combined total of 17 stem cell lines that will be available to basic scientists for research. These awards provide a total of approximately $3.5 million over two years.
NIH sponsors of the awards include the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR); the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI); the National Institute of Aging (NIA); The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD); the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK); and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
A stem cell is a special kind of cell that has a unique capacity to renew itself and to give rise to specialized cell types. Although most cells of the body, such as heart cells or skin cells, are committed to conduct a specific function, a stem cell is uncommitted and remains uncommitted, until it receives a signal to develop into a specialized cell. Researchers hope that the study of hESC will lead to a better understanding of cell function, cell differentiation, and human development.
The WiCell Research Institute, Inc., is a non-profit institution established in 1999 to advance research in the area of stem cells. It has a license from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) to distribute stem cells. WARF, founded in 1925, patents research discoveries at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funded primate research studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, which led to certain discoveries claimed in Wisconsin patent rights.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the premier federal agency for biomedical research.