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Get Your Cells Vetted

The National Institutes of Health took a step today toward facilitating the new Administration policy on use of human embryonic stem cells, opening a Web site where NIH-funded scientists can fill out a form requesting approval for the use of particular cell lines.

Scientists have potentially hundreds of lines available to them now that President Obama has thrown out the restrictive Bush-era policy.

NIH Director Francis Collins also announced the formation of a work group of scientists, lawyers, and ethicists to review whether stem cell lines are eligible for federal funding under new guidelines issued in July. Chairman of the group is Jeffrey R. Botkin, pediatrics professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Collins will make the final decision regarding the eligibility of cells. They will then be listed on the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry.