The field of regenerative medicine continues to expand, seeking potential therapies for replacing, rejuvenating, or engineering human cells to restore function. This line of research often involves the use of human pluripotent cells – “master” stem cells with the potential to produce any cell or tissue in the body and also capable of self-renewal. Work in this field has led researchers to consider introducing pluripotent cells to early-stage animal embryos to grow human tissue and organs. Given the bioethical considerations and NIH’s current Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research, which renders certain stem cell research ineligible for NIH funding, the NIH will not fund research in this area until a thorough examination of the science has been undertaken.
See the full announcement for further details on how this policy, effective Sept. 23, 2015, impacts current funding, as well as proposals already under review that include Research Involving Introduction of Human Pluripotent Cells into Non-Human Vertebrate Animal Pre-Gastrulation Embryos.