At a ceremony in the Chamber of Deputies, Wednesday April 20, the Brazilian government issued the first official call for proposals to receive funding for stem cell research in the country.
The available resources are on the order of US$ 4.3 million (11 million reais), half from the Secretariat of Science, Technology, and Strategic Components of the Ministry of Health, and the rest from the Biotechnology Sectorial Fund of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The funds will be used to finance projects in the area of basic research (laboratory tests), as well as experiments with animals and human beings, with the aim of developing innovative procedures in cell therapy. Adult bone marrow and umbilical cord stem cells and stem cells obtained from embryos can be used in the research.
The laboratory tests investigate the potential of stem cells to be transformed into tissues and how they can be isolated and put to therapeutic uses.
The experiments with animals and humans cover studies, for example, of the nervous system (cerebrovascular accidents, cervical vertebral lesions, neurodegenerative diseases, cerebral paralysis, and retinopathies), the circulatory, endocrine, digestive, respiratory, and locomotive systems, genetic disorders, and skin lesions.
The studies will have a duration of two years.
By the end of this week, a work group will be formed of researchers and representatives of the Ministries of Health and Science and Technology to define a medium-term policy for stem cell research in Brazil.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Science and Technology, Eduardo Campos, at a ceremony to issue the first official call for research proposals to receive funding for projects involving embryonic stem cells in Brazil.
According to Campos, the government wants to know what is needed in each area of stem cell research.
According to the Brazilian Society for Assisted Reproduction (SBRA), there are 9,914 frozen embryos in the country’s 15 largest reproduction clinics. 3,219 of these embryos have been frozen for more than three years, making them eligible for use in embryonic stem cell research.