N.I.H. May Fund Human-Animal Stem Cell Research

Aug 4, 2016

By Gina Kolata

The National Institutes of Health announced on Thursday that it was planning to lift its ban on funding some research that injects human stem cells into animal embryos.

The N.I.H. announced its proposal in a blog post by Carrie Wolinetz, the associate director for science policy, and in the Federal Register.

The purpose is to try to grow human tissues or organs in animals to better understand human diseases and develop therapies to treat them.

Researchers have long been putting human cells into animals — like pieces of human tumors in mice to test drugs that might destroy the tumors — but stem cell research is fundamentally different. The stem cells are put into developing embryos where they can become any cells, like those in organs, blood and bone.

If the funding ban is lifted, it could help patients by, for example, encouraging research in which a pig grows a human kidney for a transplant.


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