ISSCR Marks First Annual Global Forum

  • 24 March, 2008

Policy statements emerge from meeting with External Advisory Council

Half Moon Bay, CA – The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) today holds its inaugural Global Forum, bringing together the newly established ISSCR Global Advisory Council with members of the ISSCR leadership and other outside experts to survey the current state of stem cell science, to evaluate the opportunities and challenges facing the field and to develop strategic directions for the ISSCR.

The newly-founded Global Advisory Council includes international leaders in academia, finance, industry and healthcare delivery (roster appended). The ISSCR is the preeminent organization of stem cell researchers and is committed to the advancement of basic science, translational medicine, ethical standards and effective public policy in the area of stem cell research. Advances in each of these areas will be required to deliver new therapies.

The ISSCR is engaging the Global Advisory Council to develop strategies to lead this field toward new treatments in response to a rapidly-evolving scientific environment and emergent clinical opportunities. Some of the issues that are being discussed at the meeting include:

  • the unprecedented pace of discovery
  • advances in the ability to generate human pluripotent stem cells from non-embryonic sources
  • the need for responsible regulation of clinical trials with stem cells
  • the need for public education and well-informed public policy
  • how to best support the commercialization of stem cell technologies
  • international collaboration to deliver the benefits of stem cell research to diverse societies worldwide

The ISSCR reiterates the need for all types of stem cell research including research on adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells and alternative sources of pluripotent stem cells. The ISSCR is committed to rigorous oversight and transparent practice of human embryonic stem cell research as articulated in its ‘Guidelines for the Conduct of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research.’

History shows that the path to new cures is long, difficult and fraught with often-unexpected challenges. Not all trials of new stem cell therapies will succeed. However, by engaging leaders in ethics, public policy, health care and industry, the ISSCR hopes to accelerate progress in the most promising directions toward new treatments. To provide guidance to practitioners and patients alike, the ISSCR has convened a multinational task force to define the scientific, clinical, regulatory, ethical and societal issues surrounding the clinical translation of stem cell science into tomorrow’s therapies. A draft document describing the deliberations of the task force will be presented at the 6th ISSCR Annual Meeting, June 11-14, 2008, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. More information on the task force can be found at here.

The ISSCR Global Advisory Council

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd, Reliance Petroleum Ltd and Reliance Retail Ltd

Paul Berg, PhD, Emeritus Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine

Gregory Bonfiglio, Managing Director, Proteus Venture Partners

Brook Byers, Senior Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Gerald Lokchung Chan, DSc, Co-founder, Morningside Group

Gordon Keller, PhD, Director, McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University Health Network Senior Scientist, Ontario Cancer Institute

Jim Yong Kim, MD, PhD, Center Director, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights (FXB), Harvard School of Public Health

Robert Klein , Chair, Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine

William Kridel, PhD, Principal and Founder, Ferghana Partners Group

Rob McEwen, Chairman and CEO, US Gold Corporation

William Neaves, PhD, President and CEO, Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Beth Seidenberg, MD, Senior Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Paul J. Simmons, PhD, Professor and Director, Centre for Stem Cell Research, Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM), University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Eleni Tskaopoulous-Kounalakis, President, AKT Development

Leonard I. Zon, MD. Grousbeck Professor, Howard Hughes Medical Institute/Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School

24 March, 2008

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The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR)is an independent, nonprofit membership 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.