UCSF begins distributing the first of its two embryonic stem cell lines

cell biology research," says Regis B. Kelly, PhD, UCSF executive vice chancellor, office of research. "The best way to determine the therapeutic potential of embryonic stem cells is to foster research efforts in many laboratories, and the role of University labs in this effort is critical, as there is less need to focus on financial implications."

"We are very pleased to be able to share these cells with other academic researchers. The effort that has gone in to getting these cells ready for distribution has been worthwhile. Studying the basic biology of embryonic stem cells is a key step in exploring their therapeutic potential," says Meri Firpo, PhD, UCSF assistant research geneticist in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences.

Firpo led the team that derived the two cell lines in the UCSF laboratory of Roger Pedersen, PhD, at that time UCSF professor and research director, reproductive genetics unit, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, and now at the University of Cambridge, in England.

Firpo and her colleagues derived the two lines of embryonic stem cells in the winter and spring of 2001. The cells were obtained from three to five day old embryos that had been left over following fertility treatments and had been donated for research. The cells were then developed into cell "lines," large quantities of genetically identical cells created by replication initiated with a single cell in the laboratory dish.

Last fall and winter, following the establishment of the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry, the University of California Office of the President and UCSF negotiated mutually agreeable terms with several institutions for sharing the cells with academic researchers. The negotiations took place with Geron, which funded the research and holds the exclusive commercial license to the two stem cell lines; WiCell Research Institute, a nonprofit subsidiary of Wisconsin Alumni Res

Contact: Jennifer OBrien
University of California - San Francisco

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