Despite this level of support for the research, the Department of Health and Human Services accepts the testimony of three conservative dissenters who argue that embryonic research would lead to an increase in abortions, and in response, extends the moratorium on this research. Congress attempts to override the moratorium through legislation but President George H.
Bush vetoes the measure. A National Institutes of Health human embryonic researcher panel supports the research but thousands of letters urge President Clinton to reverse his earlier decision. He agrees and federal funding of embryonic research is halted. University of Wisconsin scientist James Thomson isolates human embryonic stem cells and shows their potential to rejuvenate and to specialize into tissues. This discovery also initiates the ethical debate on human embryonic stem cell research because his team derives the stem cells through a process that destroys human embryos.
Rabb finds that the Dickey-Wicker amendment does not apply to federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells because the cells do not meet the statutory definition of an embryo. The cells, however, would have to be derived with private funding. Harold Varmus appoints an oversight committee to draft guidelines for federally funding embryonic stem cells. The committee includes scientists, clinicians, ethicists, lawyers, patients, and patent advocates.
The NIH develops guidelines for funding human embryonic stem cell research, but presidential candidate George W. Bush declares his opposition to the research in a campaign speech, so the NIH remains cautious about entertaining funding proposals until after the presidential election.
These guidelines also outlawed the federal funding of stem cells derived from embryos created by SCNT, even if the derivation took place with private funds. NIH postpones reviewing grant applications for human embryonic stem cell research in order to give the Bush administration time to review HHS policies. President Bush prohibits the federal funding of any research using stem cell lines derived after August 9, , but his policy does not affect research in the private sector or research conducted with state funding.
The president claims that more than 60 stem cell lines are available for funding. The National Academies releases the amendments for its guidelines. President Bush issues an executive order calling upon the HHS secretary to support and encourage research on alternative sources of pluripotent stem cells. The embryos used in these studies were created for reproductive purposes through in vitro fertilization procedures.
When they were no longer needed for that purpose, they were donated for research with the informed consent of the donor. In , researchers made another breakthrough by identifying conditions that would allow some specialized adult cells to be "reprogrammed" genetically to assume a stem cell-like state. This new type of stem cell, called induced pluripotent stem cells iPSCs , will be discussed in a later section of this document.
Stem cells are important for living organisms for many reasons. In the 3- to 5-day-old embryo, called a blastocyst , the inner cells give rise to the entire body of the organism, including all of the many specialized cell types and organs such as the heart, lungs, skin, sperm, eggs and other tissues. In some adult tissues, such as bone marrow, muscle, and brain, discrete populations of adult stem cells generate replacements for cells that are lost through normal wear and tear, injury, or disease.
Given their unique regenerative abilities, stem cells offer new potentials for treating diseases such as diabetes, and heart disease. However, much work remains to be done in the laboratory and the clinic to understand how to use these cells for cell-based therapies to treat disease, which is also referred to as regenerative or reparative medicine. Scientists are already using stem cells in the laboratory to screen new drugs and to develop model systems to study normal growth and identify the causes of birth defects.
Research on stem cells continues to advance knowledge about how an organism develops from a single cell and how healthy cells replace damaged cells in adult organisms. Stem cell research is one of the most fascinating areas of contemporary biology, but, as with many expanding fields of scientific inquiry, research on stem cells raises scientific questions as rapidly as it generates new discoveries.
National Institutes of Health, U. What are stem cells, and why are they important? What are the unique properties of all stem cells? What are embryonic stem cells? What are adult stem cells?
Stem cell timeline: The history of a medical sensation. Stem cells are the cellular putty from which all tissues of the body are made. Ever since human embryonic stem cells were first grown in the lab, researchers have dreamed of using them to repair damaged tissue or create new organs, but such medical uses have also attracted controversy.
History of Stem Cell Research QUESTION: What is the history of stem cell research? ANSWER: The history of stem cell research had a benign, embryonic beginning in the mid 's with the discovery that some cells could generate other cells.
History of Stem Cell Research — A TimelineWrights/Giemsa stained human embryonic stem cell (hESC) colony on murine embryonic fibroblast feeder cells. The colony contains roughly individual hESCs. Photo courtesy of M. William Lensch, PhD. The information used to compile this Stem Cell Research Timeline comes from many different sources, including the National Institutes of Health.A useful list of links to other stem cell research timelines from around the Web can be found at the bottom of this page.
From early fetal tissue research to the first successful human treatments, this timeline documents the progress in stem cell science, and the policies that have impeded or promoted it. The stories of research involving human embryonic stem cells and the policy governing that work are intertwined and stretch back into the mids. The history of research on adult stem cells began more than 60 years ago. In the s, researchers discovered that the bone marrow contains at least two kinds of stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells form all the types of blood cells in the body.