Human embryo research: fearing excessively strict legislation, ISSCR scientists unveil their recommendations

Publié le 12 May, 2016

The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR)[1] has unveiled its recommendations in the light of current day issues, especially concerning the genetic handling of human embryos. The authors hope to “ease” ethical tension in this way and “avoid the need for strict governmental legislation, which could impede scientific progress”. “Self-regulation is the best form of regulation,” announced Charles Murry, member of the ISSCR, and bio-engineer at the University of Washington in Seattle. He explained with assurance that “the scientific community is best placed to strike a fair balance between rapid progress and safe, ethical research”.


The revised guidelines recommend that “all research involving the handling of human embryos should undergo a similar procedure to experiments involving the use of embryos to create stem cell lines”. They suggest that this area should be added to the work of monitoring committees set up to conduct research into stem cells, the “ESCROs”. They are calling for a ban on human embryo genome modification for reproductive purposes at least until the CRISPR tool is completely safe.

The ISSCR also calls for “the continued monitoring of a moratorium on the development of in-vitro human embryos after 14 days”, following last Friday’s request from scientists to extend beyond that limit.


Finally, in the light of communication errors from biologists, the ISSCR wants to control the amount of stem cell therapy information given to the general public by avoiding “confusion between research and treatment language” in particular. It went on to add that “clinical applications could not be promised immediately as research was very much still in its infancy”.


[1] L’ISSCR, created in 2002, published guidelines on embryo stem cell research and the clinical application of stem cell research as far back as 2006 and 2008.

Nature, David Cyranoski (12/05/2016)

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