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NIH Re-Approves Four Wisconsin Stem Cell Lines Including WiCell's H9

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The National Institutes of Health has re-approved for ongoing use in federally-funded research the H9 (WA09) human embryonic stem cell line of the WiCell Research Institute, as well as three other original "Wisconsin" lines: H7 (WA07), H13 (WA13), and H14 (WA14).

All four lines were discovered in 1998 in James Thomson's laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and were allowed for use in federal research projects by the administration of George W. Bush in its 2001 hESC directive, repealed by President Obama last year.

NIH subsequently adopted new approval guidelines for hESC lines last July, but did not grandfather for federal funding eligibility any of the 20 Bush-approved stem-cell lines, including all five Wisconsin lines. The fifth line, WiCell's H1 (WA01), was first to be re-approved by NIH, last January.

H1 was derived from an embryo donated through a Wisconsin in vitro fertilization clinic, while the other four lines were donated through an Israeli medical center and provided by Thomson collaborator and Israeli stem cell pioneer Joseph Itskovitz-Eldor, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Rambam Medical Center and director of the Stem Cell Center of the Technion-Israel Institute for Technology in Haifa.

"It took significant time and effort to locate, gather and translate the documents from Hebrew to English, so we could complete the application" for NIH re-approval, Erik Forsberg, WiCell's executive director, said in a statement.

According to WiCell, H9 is the most used and cited in scientific research, with more than 550 publications. H9 accounted for 40 percent of all orders placed through the former National Stem Cell Bank, which WiCell operated until its funding was ended by NIH in February. Since then, WiCell has shifted all 20 Bush-era stem cell lines, including H9, to its Wisconsin International Stem Cell Bank.

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