Posted 01 January 2010 | By
On 2 December 2009, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) authorized the first 13 lines of embryonic stem cells under the Obama administration's policy, which dramatically expands government support for one of the most promising but most contentious fields of biomedical research. The Children's Hospital Boston developed 11 of the approved cell lines, while New York's Rockefeller University developed the other two. NIH currently has an additional 96 cell lines under either internal administrative review or consideration. The embryonic stem cell lines will still have to be created using private funding, but federal grants will be permitted for experiments using a much larger array of lines, once those lines have been scrutinized to ensure they were created from embryos obtained ethically. NIH has already authorized 31 grants totaling approximately $21 million for research on human embryonic stem cells, money that had been contingent on the authorization of the new lines.