The stem cell program at the US National Institutes of Health is facing an uncertain future, Nature reports. The director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine, Mahendra Rao, left at the end of March and, at the time the Nature piece was written, the center's website had been taken down. The website now says that the center is at a "transition point."
According to Nature, Rao left because only one trial examining the use of iPS cells in the clinic had been funded; he'd hoped for five to be. In a follow-up blog post, Nature says that Rao has joined a number of stem cell company advisory boards and has taken up a post at the New York Stem Cell Foundation as the vice president for regenerative medicine. At NYSCF, Rao says he plans to focus on developing iPS cell lines for screening as well as a method for creating clinical-grade cell lines based on patient cells.
James Anderson, director of NIH's Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives tells Nature that the CRM won't continue as it has been. "The field is moving so fast that we need to rethink," he says.
NIH is planning a workshop in May to discuss the future of CRM.