Clearing the air around stem cell study

The University is committed to continuing legal research.

It’s important to be clear about the stem cell research done here at the University and how it is funded. The University does not use any federal or state money for embryonic stem cell research that is not approved for federal funding.

The University is a pioneer in stem cell research. We conducted the first successful bone marrow transplant nearly 40 years ago and pioneered many therapies involving umbilical cord blood transplantation over the past 30 years. Seven years ago, we established the nation’s first academic institute or center dedicated to stem cell research. Since that time research efforts have expanded to include adult and embryonic stem cell research. Today we are seen as a world leader in the field of adult stem cell science.

In 2001, the federal government authorized funding for research on a limited number of human embryonic stem cell lines and the University began investing in that research. By late 2003, the University set new research guidelines that allowed researchers to conduct human embryonic stem cell research on other cell lines and from embryos donated by families who had undergone an in vitro fertilization process and had excess embryos that would otherwise be discarded. Under University policy, research conducted with these embryos or cell lines will be funded through private donations and no state or federal money will be used.

While the field of stem cell science is very exciting, it is also complex. The University remains committed to continued discussion, debate and proper oversight to allow legal research to move forward. For more information about University policies in this area, you can search the University’s policy library under, “Conducting Research with Human Embryos or Embryonic Stem Cells.”

Frank Cerra, M.D., is the senior vice president for health sciences at the University. Please send comments to [email protected]