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UMass Medical Makes Stem Cell Lines Available to Researchers

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The University of Massachusetts Medical School has announced last week that its Human Stem Cell Bank and Registry has seven stem cell lines available to researchers working on treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and juvenile diabetes.

The Human Stem Cell Bank is a joint effort by the medical school and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the state agency responsible for overseeing and disbursing funds associated with the $1 billion Life Sciences Act passed into law in 2008.

“These are the first stem cell lines in what will be a broad catalog of cell materials we intend to make available to researchers,” said Joseph Laning, senior director of the Human Stem Cell Bank and Registry.

The stem cells - five human embryonic stem cell lines and two induced pluripotent lines (adult stem cell types) - come from the lab of George Daley, director of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Stem Cell Transplantation Program. The lab is expected to have six more stem cell lines available later this year.

Established in 2008, the Human Stem Cell Bank and Registry is located in a 15,000-square-foot facility in Shrewsbury at the UMass Medical School Campus. It banks about 80 stem cell lines, with limited availability, from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. The MLSC has invested almost $9.4 million to the Bank and Registry.

Laning joined the Human Stem Cell Bank and Registry in October, with the goal of bringing in stem cell lines from both academic and commercial resources.