WEDNESDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers announced Wednesday the establishment of a new World Stem Cell Foundation, an international consortium to promote human embryonic stem cell research. Based at the Seoul National University in South Korea, the foundation will be led by Woo Suk Hwang, the researcher who used somatic-cell nuclear transfer to create the first human embryos for research purposes and potential therapeutics.
Satellite laboratories are planned for San Francisco and England, where scientists could apply to have stem cells created for their research, according to a report in the Oct. 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Three Korean technicians would travel to the satellite labs to perform the somatic-cell nuclear transfer procedures.
Some U.S. scientists worry this could hinder their chances of developing expertise in the cutting-edge field. They also worry about centralizing scientific decision-making in South Korea.
Supporters say the foundation could make 100 new disease-specific cell lines a year, according to the report. In the United States, the Bush administration policy blocks federal funds from being used on stem cell research that involves the destruction of a human embryo, including somatic-cell nuclear transfer.