Translational Stem Cell Research and Animal Use: Examining Ethical Issues and Opportunities

  • Kate M. Millar
Part of the Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine book series (STEMCELL)


Recent developments in the field of stem cell research has generated notable ethical debate. This ethical discussion often emphasises human-centred issues, such as the ethical status of the embryo, with animal-centred issues being much less prominent. Further discussion of animal issues is needed given that stem cell research in its many forms has significant implications for the use of experimental animals and, more broadly, may impact on the changing nature of animal-human relationships. Three aspects of this new research phase raise prominent ethical issues relating to animal use: the creation of human-animal interspecies embryos; the use of in vivo animal models in translational stem cell research programmes; and the opportunity for embryonic stem cell tests to play a role as new alternatives to laboratory animal use. This chapter explores the increased focus on translational stem cell research and the implications for experimental animal use. When trying to set a context for ethical debate on this issue, applying an adapted ethical matrix for animal use in translational stem cell research may represent a useful tool, allowing users to explore not only individual ethical impacts, but also the ethical implications of long-term research trajectories.


Ethical matrix Laboratory animals 3Rs Animal ethics Alternatives 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate M. Millar
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Applied Bioethics, School of BiosciencesUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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