June 8, 2006, Summary
NIH Stem Cell Task Force
James Battey, NIDCD (Chair); Barbara Alving, NCRR; L. Tony Beck, NCRR; Ron McKay, NINDS; Mark Rohrbaugh, OD/OTT; Pamela Robey, NIDCR; Richard Tasca, NICHD; Dave Wright (for Elizabeth Wilder), NIDDK; Marion Zatz, NIGMS
Laura Cole, NIDCD; Jack Harding, NCRR; Tom Johnson, OD/OSP; Lisa Montney, NIDCD; Anne White-Olson, NIDCD; Baldwin Wong, NIDCD
Dr. Battey welcomed the participants to the 15th meeting of the Task Force.
II. Approval of Meeting Minutes
The Task Force approved the text of the December 6, 2005, meeting minutes, which will be posted on the NIH Stem Cell website at /policy/taskForce/tfSummaries/pages/2005_12_06tfs.aspx.
III. Update on the National Stem Cell Bank—Dr. Harding
Dr. Harding provided an update of the National Stem Cell Bank at WiCell Research Institute. On March 27, 2006, the first meeting of the Bank's advisory board was held in conjunction with the Keystone Stem Cell Symposium in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. The Board consists of approximately 8 scientists, including representatives from the U.K. Stem Cell Bank and the Australian National Stem Cell Centre. Dr. Ron McKay of the NIH Stem Cell Characterization Unit is Chair, and Dr. Sue O'Shea of the University of Michigan is Vice Chair of the advisory board. The purpose of the Board is to advise the NIH on the Bank's operations. The Board recommended that WiCell get as many of the eligible lines into the Bank as possible. Currently, the Bank has access to 11 human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines that are eligible for federal research funding (five WiCell cell lines and six ESI cell lines). The Bank is currently distributing the five WiCell lines for $500/shipment to academic and not-for-profit institutions and expects to distribute the ESI lines in the near future. The new Bank web site will be partially available later this summer. The Web site will contain information on the available cell lines for shipment, including characterization data, protocols, reagents, and standard operating procedures.
IV. Update of R24 hESC Infrastructure Grant Program—Dr. Beck
Dr. Tony Beck informed the Task Force that the R24 hESC Infrastructure Grant grants are coming to the end of their project period. The grant to Cellartis will be completed in 2006, while the grant to Technion has 2 more years left. Dr. Beck presented summary data on the distribution of the number of eligible hESC cell lines shipped by the providers who have received the R24 Infrastructure grants. The annual R24 grantees meeting will be held on June 27–28, 2006, immediately before the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. At this meeting, discussions with the hESC providers should focus on getting more cell lines into the National Stem Cell Bank. The Task Force discussed the direction that the R24 Infrastructure grant program should go in the future. In addition, Dr. Beck provided an update of the infrastructure grant award to MizMedi Hospital in Seoul, Republic of South Korea.
V. Update on hESC T15 Short-Term Courses—Dr. Thomas/Mr.Wong
Dr. Thomas was unable to attend the meeting, so Mr. Wong reported on the status of the hESC T15 program. He announced that the next group of T15 grants has been awarded as a result of the re-issued T15 "Short-Term Courses in Human Embryonic Stem Cell Culture Techniques" program announcement. Five grants have been awarded, and two grants are pending award. The five awards have been made to the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, the Pittsburgh Development Center/McGee Woman's Research Institute, Technion/Johns Hopkins University, the University of Georgia, and the University of Minnesota. The Task Force agreed that these seven courses will continue to teach scientists how to culture hESCs.
VI. Identification of Issues for Task Force Consideration—All Participants
Dr. Beck announced that the NCRR Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) stem cell project "The Promise of Stem Cells" at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore (http://www.mdsci.org/exhibits/cells.html) has completed a focus group study. The study examined the views/opinions on stem cells and stem cell research in groups of middle schoolers, high schoolers, school teachers, and parents. Anyone interested in learning more about the results of the study can contact Dr. Beck.
Dr. Robey announced that she is hosting a stem cell symposium on June 26, 2006. The speakers will be Andrew Elefanty and Elizabeth Ng Stadler from Monash University in Australia. The talks, entitled "Directed differentiation of embryonic stem cells" and "Hematopoietic differentiation of human embryonic stem cells," respectively, are scheduled for Lipsett Amphitheater in Building 10 on the NIH campus at 1:30–3:00 p.m.
The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.
If you have questions about the Task Force, please contact:
Science Policy and Planning Branch
National Institute on Deafness
and Other Communication Disorders, NIH
Bethesda, MD 20892
Phone: (301) 402-2313
Fax: (301) 402-2265