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EU to register human embryonic stem cell lines
30/3/2007 9:55

The European Commission agreed yesterday on funding for the creation of a European registry for human embryonic stem cell lines, said the commission.

A human embryonic stem cell line is a culture of stem cells isolated from an early human embryo. This cell culture can be grown indefinitely in the laboratory.

Currently 81 different lines are used in EU projects.

Under the project, a publicly accessible Internet site will contain high quality data about the cell lines and will inform on interesting developments, such as clinical trials, said the commission, the executive body of the European Union (EU).

There will be details on the sources of the stem cell lines and contact data. The registry will also include information on human embryonic stem cell lines obtained from on-going and future EU-funded projects.

"The EU is 100 percent committed to the highest possible standards of ethics in regard to its research program and this includes the use of human embryonic stem cells. We have a strict and transparent environment for their use in place in our program," said EU Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik.

Ten EU countries are involved in the registry: Belgium, Britain,the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.

Every EU country that allows the creation of new stem cell lines is involved in the initiative. Israel, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States and Australia will also be involved in the project.

The project has been agreed for a period of three years, with a EU funding of just over 1 million euros (US$1.33 million).

The EU registry is the largest initiative of its kind in the world, said the commission.