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International Society For Stem Cell Research Releases International Guidelines

August 27, 2017

The International Society for Stem Cell Research on Thursday released international nonbinding guidelines on human embryonic stem cell research to encourage uniform research practices worldwide, Reuters reports. The guidelines -- published in the Feb. 2 issue of the journal Science and on the society's Web site -- were compiled by researchers, ethicists and legal experts from 14 countries, according to Reuters. The guidelines embrace the "core values" of the National Academy of Sciences' 2005 guidelines but have some differences, the ISSCR said. According to Reuters, the guidelines call for institutions that conduct embryonic stem cell research to oversee the research. In addition, the guidelines ban reproductive human cloning to produce human infants. The guidelines require specific consent from individuals who donate cells for such research but do not address whether women who donate eggs for research should be paid. They also allow for research that creates chimeras, or animals created using human cells, provided the research is first approved by the institution's oversight mechanism, according to Reuters.

Some opponents to embryonic stem cell research criticized the guidelines, Reuters reports. Richard Doerflinger, an official at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, "This is worthless as an ethical guide because it is issued by scientists and entrepreneurs who have dedicated their careers to destructive human cloning and human embryo research and who will profit from the expansion of these abuses." George Daley -- ISSCR president-elect who also is affiliated with Harvard University and Children's Hospital Boston -- said that the society considered the controversy surrounding the research, adding, "We wanted to give a sense of transparency, that there were serious ethical discussions going on, that scientists were willing and eager to do the science under a rigorous set of ethically acceptable guidelines" (Dunham, Reuters, 2/1).

The guidelines are available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat to open the document.

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