New Jersey Project To Promote Stem Cell Research

A group led by New Jersey legislator Neil Cohen plans to roll out a project on Saturday aimed at bringing together scientists, banks, drug companies and universities to push forward stem cell research. Representatives from leading drug companies, such as Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. Inc., biotechs Amgen Inc. and Geron Corp., as well as bankers and researchers, will meet at the Marriott hotel at Newark airport to discuss and formally launch the project. The move follows a similar initiative in California, which is considering a $3 billion state bond to fund stem cell research, including work on embryonic stem cells, and coincides with an announcement by Harvard University that seven of the school's affiliated teaching hospitals and about 100 researchers are joining to explore new areas of stem cell research. The U.S. government banned the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research in 2001. Researchers are allowed to use only a limited number of stem cell lines that had been created using human embryos before the ban. They are allowed, however, to conduct research using private funds. And there is no limit on the use of other sorts of stem cells, such as those found in bone marrow.

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