Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Regulatory & ethical issues in creating a stem cell bank @stemcellnetwork

CIRM's Senior Officer to the Standards Working Group, Geoff Lomax, is blogging this week from Montreal where his attending the Canadian Stem Cell Network's meeting "Understanding Stem Cell Controversies".

The Stem Cell Network (SCN) is kicking off its second offering of the Understanding Stem Cell Controversies Workshop. One goal of the workshop is to understand legal and regulatory frameworks that govern stem cell research and clinical trials. Young laboratory and social scientists in the field of stem cell research attend the workshop. CIRM had the pleasure of participating in the SCN’s first offering (I blogged about that here) where I discussed how CIRM involves scientists, ethicists, patient advocates and the public to address ethical and policy issues in the research and clinical trials we support.

For this year’s workshop, the SCN asked me to discuss the process and progress of the CRIM’s stem cell banking initiative. We spent two years considering the best approach for getting permission from donors to use their cell in research. I blogged about this issue here.

At this week's meeting, I will be describing some of the issues that have come up as CIRM grantees begin to gear up to collect cells for the banking initiative. For example, some of our grantees have been workingwith patients’ cells for years to understand disease and develop therapies. Some, however, did not request permission to put patient cells into the CIRM bank. In this case, the researchers will be going back to the patients to obtain permission to put iPS cells in the CIRM bank. These are the types of steps that must be taken to develop stem cell lines that will be widely distributed.

I hope examples like these will help the scientists understand and appreciate all the steps that go into supporting responsible research.

G.L.

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