Stem Cells: Go West, Young Scientist

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Stem Cells Research

In the next year more stem cell researchers from outside California are likely to move to the state to take advantage of funding made available through the creation of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, according to Irv Weissman, MD, director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Last year two such researchers came to Stanford to join the institute.

There is one potential hitch: Two pending lawsuits currently prevent the CIRM from distributing its grants, including one already awarded to Stanford. If the suits are resolved in the CIRM's favor-and decisions are expected in 2006-the institute can start distributing money for training, research and new labs and buildings.

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Although South Korean claims to have generated new embryonic stem cell lines using nuclear transfer were recently shown to be false, researchers will continue attempting to create new stem cell lines using that technique, Weissman said. Nuclear transfer, which has been carried out successfully in a variety of other mammals, is necessary for some promising therapies that involve creating stem cells from a person's own tissues.

"We hope to recruit scientists who will in the future find ways to do nuclear transfer, first in animal models and then with human cells, using the safest and most effective methods," Weissman said.

From a forecast from members of Stanford University School of Medicine about events and developments to watch in the coming months.

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