The European Commission on Thursday agreed to spend about $1.3 million over three years to create a registry of human embryonic stem cell lines, Xinhuanet reports (Xinhuanet, 3/29).
Ministers of E.U. member nations in July 2006 agreed to continue funding through 2013 certain human embryonic stem cell research projects but not activities that destroy embryos.
All projects have to be approved by independent experts and will be subject to strict ethical reviews, according to the agreement.
Stem cell research will receive less than $38 million of the European Union's $65 billion research budget for 2007 through 2013, according to Janez Potocnik, E.U. commissioner for science and research (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 7/26/06).
Ten E.U. countries -- Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom -- as well as Israel, Switzerland, Turkey and the U.S. will be involved with the registry (Xinhuanet, 3/29).
The Center of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona, Spain, and the Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies in Berlin jointly will operate the registry, Dow Jones reports (Jolis, Dow Jones, 3/29).
Potocnik in a release said the European Union has a "strict and transparent environment" for the use of embryonic stem cells in its research program.
The registry will make the "most effective use of existing stem cell lines and avoiding the unnecessary creation of new ones," Potocnik said, adding, "It will also be useful in the creation of common international standardization for the characterization of these stem cells, essential for progress toward new cures and therapies."
There are 81 embryonic stem cell lines being used in E.U.-funded research (E.U. release, 3/29).