The National Academies has released a revised amended ethical guidelines for research in the human embryonic stem cells. They have originally produced the guidelines to offer a common set of ethical standards for the responsible conduct of research using human stem cells, an area that, due to an absence of comprehensive federal funding, was lacking national standards.

Embryonic stem cells have the potential to produce all of the body’s cell types. Researchers are working to harness stem cells’ ability both to regenerate themselves and produce specialized cells that may lead to medical treatments that replace certain types of cells damaged or lost to debilitating illness and injury, such as nerve cells.

The guidelines recommend that the public be informed about the types of stem cell research under way and how the research conforms to the institution’s established procedures. Moreover, the committee strongly suggested as a good management practice that institutions conducting human embryonic stem cell research carry out periodic audits of their embryonic stem cell research oversight (ESCRO) committees to ensure proper performance and make the findings of the audits available to the public.

Future committee deliberations will consider items for which additional information-gathering and more extensive debate and discussion may be necessary. The committee will continue to monitor developments in stem cell research to decide whether any future changes to the guidelines are warranted.

Source: Medical News Today