Deerfield, IL, April 2, 2012 - The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) is disappointed that a scientific meeting on Responsible Stem Cell Research, organized by the Pontifical Academy Pro Vita, has been cancelled. ISSCR leadership invited to participate in this conference had looked forward to presenting recent research highlights and engaging with members of the Academy in an open discussion on issues in stem cell science and medicine that affect people worldwide.
There are many current challenges in stem cell research, including a need for responsible clinical translation based on rigorous scientific and medical evidence. Attendees of the conference would have heard concerns about the sale of unproven adult stem cell “therapies” without safeguards to ensure safety or likely benefit. In 2008, the ISSCR released professional “Guidelines for the Clinical Translation of Stem Cells” that call for rigorous standards in the assessment of stem cell treatments before they are used in the clinic. Oversight from national agencies is a crucial component, and the ISSCR continues to urge governments and regulatory bodies to enact the recommendations outlined in these guidelines.
The accurate portrayal of stem cell research and its potential for medicine is critical in arming patients, their families and doctors with the information needed to make informed decisions. Despite rapid advances in the field, most potential stem cell therapies require further research before they will be suitable for clinical use. We call on the Catholic Church to recognize the need for rigorous testing of potential stem cell therapies, to make the protection of patients the highest priority, and to help fight the growth of fraudulent stem cell clinics and practices around the world.
“The ISSCR promotes rigorous science on all aspects of stem cells and responsible clinical translation which includes honesty and transparency in the reporting of clinical evidence,” says Dr Fred H. Gage, ISSCR President and Salk Institute.
The ISSCR strongly supports all forms of stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cell research, and feels the issues of responsible stem cell therapies crosses all fields and all religions. Adult and embryonic stem cell research avenues are not only complementary but also vital for the development of therapies for a range of human diseases.
We encourage patients, their families and doctors considering stem cell treatments to visit the ISSCR’s web resource “A Closer Look at Stem Cell Treatments,” at www.closerlookatstemcells.org.
The International Society for Stem Cell Research is an independent, nonprofit organization established to promote and foster the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas relating to stem cells, to encourage the general field of research involving stem cells and to promote professional and public education in all areas of stem cell research and application.