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Stanford University to Open Stem Cell Research Center

Dec 11, 2002
Palo Alto, California

Stanford University said on Tuesday it will launch an institute to carry out stem cell research.

Scientists at the new Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, will work to develop a new series of embryonic stem cell lines.

Stem cell and cloning researcher Dr. Irving Weissman will head the multidisciplinary institute funded with $12 million in seed money from an anonymous donor. Any stem cells created at the institute will be shared with outside researchers, he said.

"We want to translate the advances in embryonic stem cell research to create lines that represent genetically determined diseases and make these lines available to investigators who want to understand and treat these diseases," Dr. Weissman said in a statement.

Current US policy strictly limits the extent of publicly funded research on embryonic stem cells. Private companies are not so restricted but some lawmakers are seeking to end that.

Stanford said it will seek funds from public and private sources to support the institute, which will recruit scientists from different fields.

Dr. Weissman said that, among other things, the scientists will compare how cancer cells and stem cells grow and proliferate. The goal will be to develop new therapies to treat cancer, he added.

"What we're doing is examining these two fields that we thought were separate and looking at the overlap that exists between them," Dr. Weissman said.

© 2002 Reuters Ltd