The NIH selected WiCell from a field of applicants in the United States to create the NSCB "to serve the research community by performing comprehensive characterization of human embryonic stem cell lines (hESC) and distributing these cell lines to investigators,'" according to a technical document accompanying WiCell's proposal to NIH in March.
Derek J. Hei, technical director of the Waisman Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the principal investigator on the NSCB project, says the NIH award of $16 million over the next four years "is another example of how researchers on this campus work collaboratively and on an interdisciplinary basis, which is how we've come together to bring the National Stem Cell Bank to WiCell and UW-Madison."
James Thomson, WiCell scientific director and professor of anatomy at UW-Madison, says, "The selection of WiCell as the NSCB is a great honor and a great responsibility. Funding of the NSCB will greatly increase WiCell's ability to serve the human ES cell research community, as it will dramatically reduce the cost of these cell lines to investigators and encourage their more widespread use. "Although the creation of this center is very important, I hope that NIH will ultimately decide to fund additional similar centers across the United States to support this rapidly expanding field," Thomson adds.
Thomson, the UW-Madison researcher who first isolated stem cells in 1998 and began worldwide research efforts to explore the potential of using stem cells to fight some of the most pernicious diseases and afflictions facing humanity, was joined at the news conference by U.S. Rep Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, UW-Madison
Contact: Andrew Cohn
University of Wisconsin-Madison