9th September 2002
Europe's first stem cell bank, based in the UK, could be operating within a year.
Aiming to increase research into understanding the cells, the bank will hold cell lines derived from stem cells, which survive indefinitely and continue to multiply and reproduce.
It is thought advances in stem cell research could significantly increase understanding of various illnesses and conditions, including MS.
A £2.6 million contract to set up the bank has been awarded by the Medical Research Council to the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control.
Professor Julia Goodfellow, chief executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, which will fund the bank with the MRC, said: "It is vitally important that we develop a firm understanding of how stem cells work so that we can go on safely to deliver the amazing healthcare benefits this science offers."
A steering committee of scientists and bio-ethicists will develop a code of practice and regulate the running of the bank.