The National Institutes of Health released draft guidelines for human stem-cell research that acting NIH Director Raynard Kington said is expected to greatly expand scientific opportunities.
The guidelines, which are set to be published in the Federal Register, allow funding for research using human embryonic stem cells that were taken from embryos created by in vitro fertilization for reproductive purposes and were no longer need for that purpose. They do not, however, allow funding for research using human embryonic stem cells derived from other sources, including somatic cell nuclear transfer (a technique used in cloning), parthenogenesis (reproduction from an unfertilized egg) and/or in vitro embryos created for research purposes.
Kington said the NIH acted on President Barack Obamas March 9 executive order, which was intended to enhance the contribution of Americas scientists to important new discoveries and new therapies for the benefit of humankind. Research institutions are expected to attract federal funds as a result.