Leading Policy Globally on Behalf of the Stem Cell Research Community

  • 9 November, 2021
Melissa Little 500 x 500

“I just wanted to pass on heartfelt thanks from myself, the Australian Mito Foundation and others supporting legislative change to yourself and ISSCR for this incredibly valuable contribution to Australian public policy,” Professor David Thorburn PhD, Murdoch Children's Research Institute and University of Melbourne.

Dr. Thornburn is referring to the recent testimony of ISSCR leaders Megan Munsie, PhD, University of Melbourne, Australia and George Q. Daley, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School, USA before a Senate Committee hearing in Australia in support of Maeve’s Law and the cautious use of Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy (MRT). They presented authoritative testimony to share the views of the international scientific community and explain how the legislation is consistent with the process described in the ISSCR Guidelines. The society also submitted official comments in support of the legislation. The bill is still under consideration by the Parliament of Australia.

The ISSCR’s public policy work in support of Maeve’s Law (Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform Bill 2021) and MRT in Australia is one example of how the society is representing the interests of our international community and engaging on issues of significance for local jurisdictions that may also set precedent worldwide. When it passes, it will demonstrate the influence of a collaborative approach with the scientific community and patient organizations. Policy work in support of MRT also led the society to share official comments with the Minister of Health in Singapore, reinforcing that recent scientific advances justify clinical research related to MRT to refine the procedure and assess its safety and efficacy.

The society also regularly takes advantage of opportunities to share expert scientific counsel with regulatory agencies worldwide. Recently, the ISSCR submitted official comment expressing support for a proposed rule in the US that would eliminate the reimbursement for adipose-derived SVF for osteoarthritis—an unproven treatment. The ISSCR also submitted comments to the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on the Consultation on Point of Care Manufacturing that emphasized the need for any new regulatory framework to reinforce current safety, quality, and efficacy standards and safeguard consumers from unproven products. We anticipate that there will be more opportunities for the society to weigh in on this issue as the MHRA develops new regulations on this issue.

These actions illustrate the ISSCR’s advocacy on behalf of the stem cell research community around the world, giving researchers a voice in crucial policy and regulatory debates. This valuable work benefits the members of the ISSCR and the stem cell research community and reinforces the society’s leadership representing the interests of our members globally. I encourage you to learn more about the society’s policy positions by visiting www.isscr.org/policy.