HSCI helps shape national guidelines on stem cell research

With the goal of encouraging responsible research practices, in 2005 the National Academy of Sciences issued guidelines for privately funded human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research.

Intended for use by the scientific community, these guidelines take into account the full array of scientific, ethical, and public policy perspectives regarding the development and use of hESCs for research and potential therapies.

Among the recommendations in the NAS report was to create a national independent body to periodically review whether the guidelines need to be updated in light of advances in stem cell science and public attitudes.

Chosen to serve on this research advisory committee were HSCI members Stuart H. Orkin, MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital Boston, and Joshua R. Sanes, PhD, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University.

In November, the NAS hosted a public symposium that addressed a wide range of emerging issues in hESC. Participating in the two-day event in Washington, D.C. were several HSCI members.

Speakers included HSCI Principal Faculty member Kevin Eggan, PhD, Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at Harvard University, who discussed advances in somatic cell nuclear transfer, and Amy Wagers, PhD, principal investigator in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology at Joslin Diabetes Center, who addressed recent developments in fetal and adult stem cell biology. P. Pearl O’Rourke, MD, Director of Human Research Affairs at Partners HealthCare System, participated in a panel that provided feedback on the implementation of the 2005 guidelines.