As it now stands, the Federal law, which does not permit use of federal funds to support the creation or destruction of embryos or participating in cloning, is parallel to the Nebraska law with respect to use of state resources for the same hESC activities. The Board of Regents policy requiring the University of Nebraska be compliant with federal policy in this area is fully aligned with federal and state laws.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center developed a Regenerative Medicine Initiative in 2010 to bring together investigators and recruit new faculty in order to take advantage of the many opportunities this area offers for research and clinical development. As part of that effort, investigators at UNMC will continue ongoing work with many kinds of stem cells, all of whom strictly adhere to the federal and state guidelines and laws.
The bone marrow and stem cell transplant program at UNMC serves cancer patients from all over the world. Started by Dr. James Armitage in 1982, the bone marrow transplant program performs over 150 transplants per year and continues to offer innovative advances that change the standard of care. Dr. Ann Kessinger’s breakthrough in the development of peripheral blood stem cells for use in transplantation was one of the discoveries that set the bar of care in transplantation. These adult stem cells, which are extracted from peripheral blood rather than bone marrow, are harvested and frozen until the patient has undergone their required anti-cancer therapy, and then re-infused for transplantation.
Other discoveries involving stem cells that have been made at UNMC include:
- Cancer stem cells and their involvement in disease
- Drug delivery and nanomedicine in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine
- Using differentiated embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) to close the deficit in available tissue for grafts and transplants
- Use of these cells to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and macular degeneration.
Much work is still do be done in the area of stem cell research, but scientists at UNMC are hard at work to continue to be leaders and pioneers in the field.