Stem Cell Policy Exceptionalism: Proceed with Caution
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The term “stem cell exceptionalism” has been used to characterize the policy response to controversies surrounding human embryonic stem cell research. For example, governments and funding agencies have adopted policies governing the derivation and use of human embryonic stem cell lines. These policies have effectively served to fill gaps in existing guidelines and regulations and signal that scientists are committed to a responsible framework for the conduct of research involving human embryos. Recent publications discuss whether ethical and policy issues associated with induced pluripotent cells (iPSCs) from non-embryonic sources create a need for further policy intervention. We suggest many of the issues identified by commentators may be addressed through the application of established policy frameworks governing the use of tissue, human stem cells, and research participation by human research subjects. To the extent, iPSC research intersects with hESC research (e.g. the creation of human gametes and/or embryos), the policy framework governing hESC appears sufficiently robust at this time.
KeywordsStem cell Ethics Research oversight Induced pluripotent cells Human subjects Embryonic stem cell Research policy Human subjects
The authors would like to acknowledge the time and effort taken by the reviewers to proved comprehensive comments.
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