Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

U-M scientists move forward with plans for embryonic stem cell projects

Today is the one-year anniversary of the vote approving Proposal 2, the state constitutional amendment that eased restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research in Michigan.

The amendment permits Michigan scientists to derive new human embryonic stem cell lines. While no such projects have begun at U-M, researchers here have taken several significant steps this year to prepare for them:

• The new U-M Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies was launched in March. It involves researchers across campus, as well as collaborators at Michigan State University and Wayne State University.

• Funding commitments of nearly $2 million have been secured to start the consortium.

• Three research associates have been hired for the project, and a fourth will be hired soon.

• Lab space totaling 1,254 square feet has been secured, and the labs have been outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment needed for stem-cell-line derivation. The work will be done at the U-M Health System.

The Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies is ready to begin derivation of new human embryonic stem cell lines as soon as all the required regulatory approvals are in place.

“Although the voters gave us permission to derive new human embryonic stem cell lines last November, we weren’t going to do anything until we were sure we were in full regulatory compliance,” says Ed Goldman, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical School.

“That includes internal compliance with the U-M’s Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee and the Medical School’s Institutional Review Board, as well as compliance with research guidelines issued by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Institute of Medicine and the International Society for Stem Cell Research,” Goldman says.

“We wanted to make sure that when we start derivation of new human embryonic stem cell lines, it will be done in strict compliance with all applicable regulations.”