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Iran invests $2.5b in stem cell research

11/07/08 Source: Press TV

Iran's Cord Blood Bank says 2.5 billion dollars will be invested in the country's stem cell research over the next five years.

Iranian scientists test treatments on mice for everything from heart disease to multiple sclerosis in state-run laboratories and private hospitals in Tehran. The fund will be used for the development of such facilities in other Iranian cities.

"Stem cell research centers will soon be opened in all major cities," said managing Director of Iran's Cord Blood bank, Mortezah Zarabi.

Iran's Cord Blood Bank

Iranian scientists developed human embryonic stem cell lines in 2003, with the approval of Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the leader of Iran's Islamic revolution.

Despite many western countries which impose restrictions on stem cell research, Iran, a premier in the realm of stem cell research, has some of the most liberal laws providing grounds for such studies.

Muslim clerics acknowledge that life begins three months after conception, granting scientists access to human embryonic stem cells left over from fertilization trials.


According to Mohammad Reza Mohammad Hassani, the general secretary of the 10th National Congress on Cardiovascular Updates, Iran's achievements in this field have led to a successful stem cell heart transplant of an 11-year-old boy in 2003.

US President George W. Bush, over his two terms in office, has repeatedly stressed his opposition to research on the human embryonic cell lines and has vetoed funding for such studies several times.

US president-elect Barak Obama, on the other hand, has his pledged full support of stem cell research.

"I strongly support expanding research on stem cells. I believe the restrictions that President Bush has placed on funding of human embryonic stem cell research have handcuffed our scientists and hindered our ability to compete with other nations."

"As president, I will lift the current administration's ban on federal funding of research on embryonic stem cell lines."

Stem cell research is one of the most promising fields in modern biomedicine. However, due to moral and ethical debates it remains a controversial issue in many regions of the world.

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