Study Says All Stem Cell Lines TaintedBy Karen Kaplan
Times Staff Writer
January 24, 2005
All human embryonic stem cell lines approved for use in federally funded research are contaminated with a foreign molecule from mice that may make them risky for use in medical therapies, according to a study released Sunday.
Researchers at UC San Diego and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla report that if the stem cells are transplanted into people, the cells could provoke an immune system attack that would wipe out their ability to deliver cures for diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and diabetes.
The finding is a setback to the Bush administration's controversial policy that provides federal funding only for research using embryonic stem cell lines that were created before August 2001. Evidence that all such lines are contaminated supports long-standing concerns among researchers that the lines eligible for federal money are insufficient to propel research forward.