Summary of NIH Stem Cell Unit 10/29/2004 Meeting
NIH Stem Cell Unit
Steering Committee Conference Call
Friday, October 29, 2004
3:00 p.m. EST
Participants: James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D. (Chair, NIH Stem Cell Task Force); Ronald D.G. McKay, Ph.D. (Unit Director); David M. Bodine, Ph.D.; Curt Civin, M.D.; Robert G. Hawley, Ph.D.; Brigid L.M. Hogan, Ph.D.; Mahendra Rao, M.D., Ph.D.; Janet Rossant, Ph.D.
Unable to Participate: J. Carl Barrett, Ph.D., Marvin Gershengorn, M.D.; Story C. Landis, Ph.D., Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D.
Dr. Battey opened the meeting by thanking the committee for taking the time to help oversee the operations of the NIH Stem Cell Characterization Unit.
Stem Cell Unit Status Report—Dr. McKay
Dr. McKay updated the group on the status of the NIH Stem Cell Unit. The Unit currently has a staff of two scientists and one technician and is recruiting for one additional scientist. They have 18 human embryonic stem cell lines (hESCs) in house and are waiting for two lines from Cellartis in Sweden. In the past year, the Unit and its collaborators have developed methods to measure genetic stability, improve cell growth, and assess cell differentiation of the hESCs. They have developed a standard protocol for growing all hESCs. The Unit's efforts complement efforts by the International Stem Cell Consortium (ISCC), which is developing standardized antibodies and a simple gene array to compare the RNA and protein expression profiles of hESCs. The Unit's data will also assist the proposed National Embryonic Stem Cell Bank as it provides stem cells directly to researchers. The stem cell training course in Bar Harbor, Maine, in August 2005 will be followed by a symposium, during which Dr. McKay hopes to present more of the Unit's analyses.
Dr. McKay then presented the Steering Committee with the Unit's proposed FY05 operating budget. The requested budget amount was similar to that proposed in FY04. In FY05, Dr. McKay proposes to use the level of funds allocated for equipment in 2004 to instead establish a contract with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories to perform ROMA (representational oligonucleotide microarray analysis) on the hESCs.
Final suggestions of the Steering Committee—all participants
The Steering Committee endorsed the proposed FY05 budget of the NIH Stem Cell Unit. Dr. Battey thanked the participants once again for their time. The conference call concluded at 3:45 p.m.