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The ISSCR Releases Updated Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Clinical Translation

  • 26 May, 2021
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Skokie, IL – The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) today released updated guidelines for stem cell research and its translation to medicine. The update reflects emerging advances including, stem cell-based embryo models, human embryo research, chimeras, organoids, and genome editing.

“The 2021 update presents practical advice for oversight of research posing unique scientific and ethical issues for researchers and the public,” said Robin Lovell-Badge, PhD, FRS, Chair, ISSCR Guidelines task force and Senior Group Leader and Head of the Division of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics at The Francis Crick Institute, UK. “They provide confidence to researchers, clinicians, and the public alike that stem cell science can proceed responsibly, ethically, and remain responsive to public and patient interests,” he said.

Scientists, research organizations, and scientific journals have long relied upon the ISSCR Guidelines as the international standard for scientific and ethical rigor, oversight, and transparency in stem cell research. The guidelines also provide a basis for implementation of new regulatory frameworks in countries without existing oversight systems. Adherence to the guidelines provides assurance that research is conducted with integrity and new therapies are safe, effective, and evidence-based.

“This is a significant update, building upon the society’s longstanding commitment to excellence in all areas of stem cell research.” said Christine Mummery, PhD, ISSCR president and professor of Developmental Biology at Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands. “The updates address new methods of understanding fundamental biological processes that may ultimately lead to the alleviation of debilitating diseases and disorders.”

The 2021 ISSCR Guidelines update is the result of a two-year collaboration with international experts and respected leaders in areas of stem cell science, ethics, and law, and was peer-reviewed by scientists and ethicists from 14 countries. They are publicly available at isscr.org/guidelines.

Additional information is available here:

“Why Stem Cell Guidelines Needed an Update: New Criteria Aim to Reassure the Public to Permit Progress in Contentious Research,” by Lovell-Badge (Nature)

“ISSCR Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Clinical Translation: The 2021 Update,” by Lovell-Badge et al., ISSCR Guidelines Taskforce (Stem Cell Reports), under embargo until 26 May 2021, 11:00 a.m. EDT. Publishing on 27 May 2021, 11:00 a.m. EDT. DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2021.05.012

“Human Embryo Research, Stem Cell-derived Embryo Models and In Vitro Gametogenesis: Considerations Leading to the Revised ISSCR Guidelines,” Clark et al., (Stem Cell Reports), under embargo until 26 May 2021, 11:00 a.m. EDT. Publishing on 27 May 2021, 11:00 a.m. EDT. DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2021.05.008

“ISSCR Guidelines for the Transfer of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells and Their Direct Derivatives into Animal Hosts,” by Hyun et al. (Stem Cell Reports), under embargo until 26 May 2021, 11:00 a.m. EDT. Publishing on 27 May 2021, 11:00 a.m. EDT. DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2021.05.005

“ISSCR’s Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Clinical Translation: Supporting the Development of Safe and Efficacious Stem Cell-Based Interventions,” by Turner (Stem Cell Reports), under embargo until 26 May 2021, 11:00 a.m. EDT. Publishing on 27 May 2021, 11:00 a.m. EDT. DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2021.05.011

About the International Society for Stem Cell Research (www.isscr.org
With nearly 4,000 members from more than 65 countries, the International Society for Stem Cell Research is the preeminent global, cross-disciplinary, science-based organization dedicated to stem cell research and its translation to the clinic. The ISSCR mission is to promote excellence in stem cell science and applications to human health. Additional information about stem cell science is available at A Closer Look at Stem Cells, an initiative of the Society to inform the public about stem cell research and its potential to improve human health.

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