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Asia's biggest stem cell lab under plan
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-04-09 09:58

China will build Asia's largest stem cell technology laboratory in its push to increase its stake in the competitive sector.

Health Minister Chen Zhu said there was huge potential for China to grow in this new field, it was reported.

Stem cell technology uses master cells in the body to create new cells. Medical researchers hope these new cells can be used to fight diseases and heal injuries.

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"The stem cell and regenerative medicine sector is one of China's new high-tech biological sectors with the strongest development potential," Chen said during the launch of the project in eastern Jiangsu province on Tuesday, according to Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao.

"Accelerating the development of this sector will be important for lifting people's standard of living and health."

The government wants to expand its stake in this increasingly competitive area, where it has few of the regulatory controls and controversies that have constrained research elsewhere.

Former American President George W. Bush opposed the use of stem cells taken from human embryos. But US President Barack Obama has reversed Bush's policy that virtually froze federal funding for stem cell research using embryonic samples.

Singapore also wants to become a regional centre for the technology.

China's base will be in Taizhou, an area of Jiangsu with many medical and pharmaceutical businesses, and will cover 20,000 sq m and include a clinic, said the report.

It did not say when the project will be completed.