The National Institutes of Health is planning to lift a moratorium on funding for research studying the effects of injecting animal embryos with human stem cells.
The agency last year issued a moratorium for such funding while it studied the issue further. But NPR is reporting the NIH plans to lift that reprieve and allow scientists to conduct so-called “Chimera” experiments under strict and closely monitored parameters.
“They want to take human stem cells and put them inside these animal embryos, in the hopes that the human stem cells, which can become any kind of cell or tissue in the body, will become integrated into the embryos and then develop into animals that have partially or even fully human parts in their bodies,” said NPR health correspondent Rob Stein on Thursday.
Scientists say the experiment could lead to major medical breakthroughs that could save countless human lives, such as the ability to grow human organs that could be used to save the lives of patients in need of transplants.