Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New NIH policy on human stem cell research

For those who want to be "up to speed" on official policy when the inevitable discussion of human embryonic stem cell research pops up in class, this is just in from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) . . . revised guidelines that permit research on embryonic cell lines go in to effect TODAY.

From the official notice:

"On March 9, 2009, President Barack H. Obama issued Executive Order (EO)13505 Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells. The EO states that the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the Director of NIH, may support and conduct responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research, to the extent permitted by law. NIH published draft Guidelines for research involving hESCs in the Federal Register for public comment, 74 Fed. Reg. 18578 on April 23, 2009. The comment period ended on May 26, 2009. Approximately 49,000 comments on the draft Guidelines were submitted to NIH by patient advocacy groups, scientists and scientific societies, academic institutions, medical organizations, religious organizations, private citizens, and members of Congress.

The final NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research implementing the EO and establishing policy and procedures under which the NIH will fund such research, were released today and are available at http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp. They will be effective on July 7, 2009. Public comments on the draft Guidelines were also released today and are available at http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp.

The Guidelines will ensure that NIH-funded research in this area is ethically responsible, scientifically worthy, and conducted in accordance with applicable law. Internal NIH policies and procedures, consistent with the EO and these Guidelines, will govern the conduct of intramural NIH stem cell research.

The Guidelines prescribe the assurances and supporting documentation that must accompany requests for NIH funding for research using hESCs, and describe research that is not eligible for NIH funding. NIH will provide additional guidance concerning the implementation of the Guidelines and the status of pending applications in future Guide Notices.
Ongoing NIH-supported research involving previously approved hESC lines may continue. No new uses of hESC may be initiated in ongoing funded studies unless reviewed and approved by the NIH."

Read the new NIH Guidelines at http://stemcells.nih.gov/policy/2009guidelines.htm

Check out this article about the new guidelines, including the context and background:

NIH loosens stem cell consent rules
Elie Dolgin
The Scientist (online) posted 6th July 2009 07:58 PM GMT

Read my recent blog article Science controversies in the news

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