As aired on WTIC News Talk 1080, January 28, 2009.

Stem Cell Researchers Hoping for Federal Funding

By Matt Dwyer

President Barack Obama is expected to loosen Bush administration rules on embryonic stem cell funding.

Currently, the federal government withholds funding for research on embryonic stem cell lines created after 2001.

Here in Connecticut, UConn Health Center Genetics Professor Marc Lalande says it is clear the new administration supports federal funding for the research.

"The whole stem cell research community in the United States is looking forward to this," Lalande says. "We think this is going to happen.

"It will be absolutely great because it will allow us to expand our programs using federal funding," Lalande says.

But he also says he is not sure when a change might be made, or how much money would actually be available, in the bad economy.

Lalande says the UConn Stem Cell Core laboratory recently created two new human embryonic stem cell lines, using state and university funding -- but NO federal money.

The CT1 and CT2 lines are the first created in Connecticut.

UConn researchers may use them to search for ways to treat severe bone injuries by regrowing bones.

Lalande says the stem cells come from unused fertility clinic embryos.