University of Connecticut Gets Building for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 9, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

University of Connecticut Gets Building for Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 9
, 2007

Hartford, CT ( — The University of Connecticut has used some of the $12 million in taxpayer dollars it was awarded late last year to purchase a building in Farmington where it will conduct embryonic stem cell research. Pro-life groups opposed the state grants because the research involves the destruction of human life.

The university purchased the former FarmTech building near the Health Center in Farmington.

Officials plan to renovate the nearly 113,000-square-foot structure to establish a Center of Innovation that will include the University’s new stem cell institute.

“Our goal is to maximize the state’s investment in stem cell research and establish an internationally recognized program focused on human embryonic stem cells and regenerative medicine,” says Dr. Marc Lalande of the college.

Lalane hoped that "someday they can be applied clinically to patients" even though embryonic stem cells have never cured any human patients and have had problems in animal testing. Only adult stem cells have been able to successfully treat patients with a variety of diseases and medical conditions.

UConn was awarded nearly $12 million in November to fund 15 research proposals in the first disbursement of funds by Connecticut’s stem cell funding agency. It is expected that many of those researchers will move to the refurbished Farmington laboratories by the end of 2009.

The college said that "a centerpiece of the new institute will be UConn’s human embryonic stem cell core laboratory, now sited at the Health Center."

When Connecticut launched its 10-year stem cell research program in 2005, the University invested more than $2 million in recruiting scientists with expertise in human embryonic stem cell research to set up a core facility.

The Connecticut stem cell committee has awarded $20 million in grants with money also going to Yale and Wesleyan University.

Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell, a Republican, signed the measure allowing the funding in June 2005. It bans human reproductive cloning and the sale of human eggs, sperm and embryos, but allows human cloning for research purposes.

The law prohibits human embryos used in research from growing past 14 days, which detractors say mandates that all days-old unborn children must be killed for their stem cells.