Bookmark and Share RSS IconRSS

Headlines by Date


Watch the Video


As reported by WTNH Channel 8, January 28, 2009.

Stem Cell Research Breakthrough in CT

By Mark Davis

There's a major breakthrough in stem cell research at the University of Connecticut, placing the state at the forefront of medical research.

Dr. Ge Lin came to Connecticut from China a year ago because the state of Connecticut was one of a handful of states that had decided to invest millions of dollars to do its own stem cell research.

It took a year's worth of permits and paperwork. But once approved, it took just two weeks for him to help the state to become among the first in the nation to create two, new, human embryonic stem cell lines.

He actually removed cells from less than one week old unused embryos donated by patients at a fertility clinic.

The cells are then mixed with a special chemical cocktail.

"Once they attach and grow, expand, they become a cell line," Dr. Xu said.

Under the Bush Administration, no federal money was allowed for this process. So, Connecticut and a few other states decided to do it on their own.

"These are lines that are done here, they're fresh, they've been quality controlled and they're the first step toward moving toward using them in therapies," Dr. Marc Lalande, Director of UConn Stem Cell Core Lab, said.

The Obama Administration is expected to lift the ban on federal funding. Researchers at the University of Connecticut Medical Center, in Farmington, think this major breakthrough will place the state at the head of the line.

"This ability that we've now developed by Dr. Lin and Dr. Xu, in this core facility, is very exciting," Dr. Lalande said. "It's going to put us in the forefront of getting federal stem cell funds because there's only a few states that have done this."

These new stem cell lines will be used to test the ability to repair spinal tissue, brain tissue and other parts of the human body. How long before there's a major medical breakthrough?

Dr. Lin: "Four to five years I think."
Davis: "That soon, you think?"
Dr. Lin: "Yes, the FDA has just released a clinical trial on spinal cord injury using stem cells to treat patients."

The UConn stem cell center has trained one-hundred scientists from UConn, Yale, Wesleyan and UMASS.

More than 20 laboratories at these universities have begun using these new human embryonic stem cell lines.

Governor Rell said today to those who asked three years ago if the $100 million state investment was worth it she said, "Absolutely."