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Stem Cell Information

June 17, 2008, Summary

NIH Stem Cell Task Force

Members Present:

Story Landis, NINDS (Chair); James Battey, NIDCD (Vice Chair); Barbara Alving, NCRR; L. Tony Beck, NCRR; Ron McKay, NINDS; Mark Rohrbaugh, OD/OTT; John Thomas, NHLBI; Marion Zatz, NIGMS

Other Participants:

Laura Cole, NIDCD; Jack Harding, NCRR; Tom Johnson OD/OSP; Jane Knisely, NIDCD (PMF on rotation); Lisa Montney, NIDCD; Lesley Stewart, NIDCD; Baldwin Wong, NIDCD (Executive Secretary)

I. Update on hESC T15 Short Term Training Courses—Dr. Thomas

Dr. John Thomas provided a summary of past and present NIH-supported T15 hESC training courses, and discussed the future direction of the T15 program. He briefed the Task Force on the annual meeting of the Principal Investigators of the current T15 courses, which was held on June 10, 2008, in Philadelphia. The Task Force then discussed the future of the T15 program, which is in its last year of funding.
Options for the program include:

  1. continuing T15 program as is to meet continued demand for training in hESC culture techniques;
  2. continuing the T15 program with a new focus on new technology; or
  3. discontinuing the T15 program because training can be obtained elsewhere and other NIH grant mechanisms could be used to support such courses.


The Task Force will decide which option is the best to pursue.

II. Discussion on iPS cell distribution—Drs. Alving and Harding

With the recent derivation of human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, the scientific community has shown much interest in obtaining these cells for research. Drs Barbara Alving and Jack Harding led a discussion on strategies NIH could initiate to meet this need.

III. Discussion on the National Stem Cell Bank—Drs. Alving and Harding

Dr. Jack Harding distributed a handout summarizing the National Stem Cell Bank’s (NCSB) activities and contract terms. The contract for the Bank will be ending in several years and the Task Force discussed future options for the Bank. Dr. Harding will relay these discussions to the Bank’s advisory board.

IV. Discussion on Re-Issuing NOT for administrative supplements for hPSCs—Dr. Zatz

Dr. Marion Zatz led a discussion to determine if there is any interest in reissuing the notice (NOT) for administrative supplements for human pluripotent stem cells. NOT-NS-08-013 was issued last April. Mr. Wong provided the number of applications that the nine participating ICs received. Some ICs are still deciding how many of the applications to fund this fiscal year. The Task Force agreed that if ICs wish to reissue the NOT, they should do so and develop another funding opportunity announcement.

V. Identification of Issues for Task Force Consideration—All Participants

The Task Force discussed convening a state-of-the-science workshop later this year on human pluripotent stem cells, with an emphasis on basic and pre-clinical research. The Task Force will solicit ideas for possible presenters. Dr. Story Landis announced that she plans to convene meetings of the Task Force more frequently. The members of the Task Force were supportive of this proposal.

VI. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 5:00pm.

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