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Posted on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 11:56 a.m.

University of Michigan embryonic stem cell line accepted for federal registry

By Nathan Bomey

(The photo caption in this story has been updated.)

The University of Michigan announced today that the National Institutes of Health had accepted U-M's first human embryonic stem cell line for its national registry.

The news means the cells can be used in federally funded research, U-M said.

Embryonic stem cell research.jpg

Sue O’Shea, a U-M professor of cell and developmental Biology and co-director of the Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies, examines stem cells at a laboratory.

File photo |

The stem cell line was created "from a cluster of about 30 cells removed from a donated five-day-old embryo roughly the size of the period at the end of this sentence," according to a news release. The embryo "was created for reproduction but was no longer needed for that purpose and was therefore about to be discarded," U-M said.

“We expect these cells will be used by investigators worldwide to enhance our understanding of stem cell biology, and together with disease-specific lines, discover treatments and cures for genetic diseases,” said Gary Smith, a U-M Medical School professor who derived the line and serves as co-director of the U-M Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies in the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute, in a statement.

NIH's registry currently has 147 embryonic stem cell lines.

U-M researchers are also developing several other embryonic stem cell lines — including two that have already been submitted to the NIH for consideration.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.


Tom Joad

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 11:49 p.m.

All significant stem cell research is being carried out in California, a state exceedingly supportive of advanced research. Unfortunately Michigan has a long road ahead, considering the importance of medical research at the UM

Joe Hood

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

Did the donor kid have a name? Just a homeless guy (er, clump of cells) drinking himself to death, his cells will help humanity more than lying in front of the package store...


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 9:22 p.m.

Embryonic stem cells hold endless promise if we just shovel enough money into research, even though all or nearly all of the useful results have been from adult stem cells. Some people lazily or deliberately confuse the two. Thus, it's the perfect government program! Research grants forever! And it even irritates both religious people and fiscal conservatives. What more could university faculty ask for?

E Claire

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

Why aren't we putting more money into research using people's own cells? Many advances there but nothing has been cured with stem cells (that I know of, at least). And before you attack, I'm not a right winger or a left winger, just curious as to why we keep putting money into something that doesn't seem to be working.


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

This is GREAT news!


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 6:36 p.m.

Here's one for the right wingers to think about. Intelligent design seems to fit here. God gave humans the intelligence to use stem cells for research to combat illnesses and make this a better world for all. Now that's a christian way!

Joe Hood

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 11:33 p.m.

@hank The Germans followed the same logic in WWII you have here to make the world a better place for all. What is so wrong with pluripotent skin cells besides a profit motive?


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.

Here we go! The arguement "for" and "against".'s my opinion. There are absolutely NO documented cases of "human life" being frozen solid and then being re-animated. Therefore, I must come to the conclusion that if an embryo can be frozen for up to 5 years...then it must not be "human life". I wish we would take this gift from our creator and use it wisely.


Wed, Feb 15, 2012 : 4:55 p.m.

Agreed Joe...embryo's that are frozen are implanted and become living viable humans. Therefore, they are not frozen to death. And for the record...I don't agree with abortion...that is between the woman and Creator.

Joe Hood

Wed, Feb 15, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

And for the record, we're all for stem cell research. With the one caveat...

Joe Hood

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

No one should be frozen to death on purpose.