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Stem Cell Research and Therapy: The Position of the National Society of Genetic Counselors


Stem cells’ regenerative capabilities present a unique opportunity to treat human illness and injury. In 2003, the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) issued a position statement supporting stem cell use in research settings. Almost a decade later, in response to legislative and technological developments within the field of stem cell science, NSGC convened a task force to revisit and update its statement on stem cell research. In doing so, the Task Force developed a new statement reaffirming NSGC’s support for stem cell research and endorsed continued stem cell therapy development. NSGC recognizes that the unique potential of stem cell therapy to treat human disease and injury can be realized only through research on a diverse array of stem cell lines drawn from multiple sources, including embryonic, cord blood, and adult cells. NSGC supports the use of stem cells in research and clinical settings when practices adhere to defined ethical and legal guidelines. Available stem cell lines should reflect our genetically diverse population, and donor recruitment should be without discrimination or coercion and include a thorough and dynamic informed consent process.

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  1. Lamberth ruled that any work using hESC lines violated the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, a conclusion that undercut the premises of the rules established by both the Bush and Obama administrations. In July 2011, President Obama reversed this ruling to restore this funding.

  2. Definition: Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state by being forced to express genes and factors important for maintaining the defining properties of embryonic stem cells. Source: Stem Cell Information website provided by the National Institutes of Health (


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The first author would like to recognize task force member Laura Hercher for her invaluable contribution to the drafting and editing of this manuscript. The clarity and depth of the Task Force’s message, as summarized in this paper, are owed in great part to Laura.

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Correspondence to Brianne Kirkpatrick.

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Kirkpatrick, B., Hercher, L., Facio, F. et al. Stem Cell Research and Therapy: The Position of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. J Genet Counsel 22, 407–410 (2013).

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  • Stem cell
  • Stem cell research
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Position statement
  • National Society of Genetic Counselors
  • NSGC