In August 2002, the Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Elias Zerhouni announced the creation of a new NIH Task Force to advance stem cell research. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), with a long history of sponsored research programs for stem cell biology, is participating in the NIH Stem Cell Task Force to facilitate stem cell and embryonic stem (ES) cell research including programs to improve access to cell sources. Programs being implemented include infrastructure enhancement awards to develop eligible human ES cell lines into distribution-quality cell lines, grant supplements for human ES cell line research, an educational program to provide laboratory courses on human ES cell culture techniques, and a new training program to assist investigators wishing to re-direct their laboratories into stem cell research.

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