Throwing its enormous financial clout and prestige behind embryonic stem cell research, Harvard University, one of the top US centres for biomedical research, has put a US$100 million stem cell centre on the drawing board. It will be built and operated with private funding so that it can bypass federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. “Harvard has the resources; Harvard has the breadth, and, frankly, Harvard has the responsibility to be taking up the slack that the government is leaving,” says Dr George Q. Daley.
The proposed stem cell institute will work together with Harvard’s other schools — government, law, divinity and business — to understand the implications of the new technology.
Harvard is not the only institution attempting to do research on embryos without government funding. Other private initiatives are under way at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Minnesota and the University of California, San Francisco. The state of New Jersey has promised US$6.5 million to Rutgers University for stem cell research and Californian activists are seeking a referendum on a proposal to provide US$3 billion over 10 years.
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