Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo


Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

The world’s first embryonic-stem-cell bank has opened in Hertfordshire, England. Great Britain’s Medical Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council are funding the bank, which will store stem cells of all sorts–adult, fetal, and embryonic–to help make them available to researchers worldwide.

The bank’s first two “deposits” are embryonic stem cell lines created at King’s College London and the Centre for Life, a research facility in Newcastle upon Tyne. These cells, derived from embryos created during fertility treatments, have the ability to become any type of tissue in the human body; they hold the potential to cure diseases ranging from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s to diabetes, as well as possibly reverse the paralysis suffered by victims of spinal cord injuries.

Although Britain has much more liberal policies governing stem cell research than does the U.S., the bank has nevertheless drawn the ire of anti-abortion activists. That’s unfortunate, since the could become a tremendous resource to researchers investigating all types of stem cells. In fact, it could be a boon to the field along the lines that GenBank, a repository of gene sequences, has been to geneticists. Also unfortunate is the fact that U.S. scientists supported by federal funds won’t be able to take advantage of the embryonic stem cells lines in the bank.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives


Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me