The National Institute of Health (NIH) in the US has approved the use of first 13 human embryonic stem cells in the country.

The NIH-funded research for this purpose had started in July 2009. Children's hospital, Boston has developed 11 of these stem cell lines and Rockefeller University, New York City developed two. An additional 96 lines have been submitted to the NIH for either internal review or consideration.

“I am happy to say that we now have human embryonic stem cell lines eligible for use by our research community under our new stem cell policy,” NIH Director Francis Collins said.

“In accordance with the guidelines, these stem cell lines were derived from embryos that were donated under ethically sound informed consent processes,” said Mr. Collins and added that “More lines are under review now, and we anticipate continuing to expand this list of responsibly derived lines eligible for NIH funding.”

Research is already yielding information about the events that occur during human development. Researchers said that these cell lines may be used to treat a myriad of diseases, conditions, disabilities and to test the safety of new drugs in the laboratory.

More In: Health | Sci-Tech