The American Red Cross, the first organization to receive a human embryonic stem cell (HESC) research grant in from the US government, surprised the scientific community by rejecting the money, fanning the international policy debate over the use of these cells. Citing a change in research policy, the organization, which manages most of the US blood supply, turned down a $50,000 (US) grant to expand its research of mouse umbilical cells into the controversial HESCs.

Nevertheless, the National Institutes of Health joins granting agencies in Europe and Canada in evaluating further applications for government HESC funding. NIH administrators plan to award at least $4 million in supplemental and training grants and infrastructure awards in 2002. In addition, NIH institutes and centers will hand out an unspecified amount of funding for new research projects, according to Wendy Baldwin, deputy director for extramural research. "We have eight or nine applications in...

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