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NIH approves Wisconsin H1 stem-cell line for continued use in federally funded research

January 29, 2010

The WiCell Research Institute, a private nonprofit that has advanced stem cell science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and served researchers around the world since 1999, can continue to provide stem cell scientists one of the earliest and most popular human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines in the field for their use in federally funded research projects.

Today (Jan. 29), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) officially approved the H1, also known as the WA1 line, for continued use in research funded by the U.S. government and added it to the National Stem Cell Registry.

Among the most studied of all hESC lines, H1 was derived by James Thomson, director of regenerative biology at the Morgridge Institute for Research and professor of anatomy at UW–Madison, during his 1998 breakthrough discovery of these unique and promising cells. H1 is the first of the formerly approved pre-2001 Bush era lines to meet the new NIH guidelines for stem cell research.

Of the 21 lines formerly listed on the National Stem Cell Registry by the NIH, this line has accounted for more than 30 percent of orders shipped by the National Stem Cell Bank, operated by WiCell since 2005 under an NIH contract. According to Nature Biotechnology (August 2009), it is cited in more than 60 percent of published scientific papers documenting research findings in the field of human embryonic stem cell science.

“H1 is one of the most extensively studied and characterized stem cell lines among researchers worldwide and, along with other early Thomson lines, is considered the ‘gold standard’ for stem cell research by many scientists,” stated Erik Forsberg, WiCell executive director. “We are extremely pleased H1 will continue to be eligible for government funding so that the hundreds of scientists who have built their research upon its use, can continue their work and discoveries without disruption.”

With the National Stem Cell Bank preparing to cease operation at the end of next month, Forsberg stated that as of Feb. 2, WiCell will begin distributing the H1 line and all lines formerly available through the National Stem Cell Bank through its own Wisconsin International Stem Cell (WISC) Bank. For more information, visit

WiCell is in the process of obtaining the required documentation to complete the NIH application for submitting the other most widely ordered line, H9, and WiCell’s three additional lines, for inclusion in the National Stem Cell Registry. H9, cited in 83 percent of published stem cell research papers and the most used by stem cell researchers, was derived by Thomson during the same time period as the H1 line.

For more information about the WiCell Research Institute, visit

Tags: stem cells