To enforce ethical guidelines and to ensure that all stem cell research (embryonic or otherwise) is conducted cautiously and responsibly so as not to threaten the safety or autonomy of research subjects or the donors of research materials, the following administrative oversight requirements should be included either in the NIH guidelines that respond to the president’s executive order or in legislation that should be passed in the first session of the 111th Congress:
- The National Institutes of Health should require that all research be conducted under the review of a stem cell research oversight committee that adheres to the standards put forth in the regulations issued by the NIH and the Department of Health and Human Services as informed by the National Academies or the International Society for Stem Cell Research guidelines. Any embryonic stem cells that are not in compliance with these rules, or are derived from embryos that are not in compliance with these rules, will not be eligible for federal funding.
- The one caveat to this requirement is that the 21 cell lines that were approved by the Bush administration should be grandfathered into the new policy because federal funding has already been provided for research that is now well underway.
These policy guidelines will ensure that human embryonic stem cell research is carried out with the highest ethical standards. It will also ensure that U.S. public and private biomedical research laboratories live up to the highest scientific standards.
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