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NIH selects Burnham Institute for Exploratory Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research

(La Jolla, CA, August 9, 2005.) The Burnham Institute will receive $3 M over the next three years from the National Institutes of Health ("NIH") to develop an "Exploratory Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research". The grant provides funds to support research that will advance understanding of the fundamental biology of human embryonic stem cells ("hESCs"), as well as facilities for supporting the work and training of other investigators in the basic methods of growing and using human stem cells.

The Burnham Institute is the only NIH exploratory stem cell center in California and the southwestern United States. The Institute was one of three exploratory center sites selected by NIH: Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, also in New York, received the other two grants. NIH has funded a total of six exploratory stem cell centers to date, including three centers named in 2003 when the program was initiated: University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, and University of Michigan.

The field of hESC biology is in its infancy and is part of the burgeoning broader field of human stem cell biology. "If we are to realize the tremendous potential of stem cells, we urgently need more fundamental knowledge about their basic biology and more scientists trained to work with them," said Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences ("NIGMS") at the NIH.

NIGMS is addressing these critical needs by providing a total of $9M to the three new Exploratory Centers for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research over the next three years. The centers will use this funding for research on stem cell lines that are listed on the NIH's Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry, so-called "NIH approved" stem cell lines.

"These centers are a crucial step in establishing the infrastructure for scientists to address essential questions about human development and cell differentia
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Contact: Nancy Beddingfield
nbeddingfield@burnham.org
858-646-3146
Burnham Institute
9-Aug-2005


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