Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Erika Jonietz

Banking on Stem Cells

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…

  • May 20, 2004

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.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.