monitoring of the integrity of existing cell lines is essential. In addition, the generation of new stem cell lines is likely to be important to replace those that become inviable and to increase understanding of the impact of long-term cell culture.
Recommendation: While there is much that can be learned using existing stem cell lines if they are made widely available for research, concerns about changing genetic and biological properties of these stem cell lines necessitate continued monitoring as well as the development of new stem cell lines in the future.
Finding 4: High-quality, publicly funded research is the wellspring of medical breakthroughs. Although private, for-profit research plays a critical role in translating the fruits of basic research into medical advances that are broadly available to the public, the status of stem cell research is far from the point of providing therapeutic products. Without public funding of basic research on stem cells, progress toward medical therapies is likely to be hindered. In addition, public funding offers greater opportunities for regulatory oversight and public scrutiny of stem cell research.
Recommendation: Human stem cell research that is publicly funded and conducted under established standards of open scientific exchange, peer-review, and public oversight offers the most efficient and responsible means to fulfill the promise of stem cells to meet the need for regenerative medical therapies.
Finding 5: Conflicting ethical perspectives surround the use of embryonic stem cells in medical research, particularly where the moral and legal status of human embryos is concerned. The differing perspectives are difficult to reconcile. Given the controversial nature of research with fetal and embryonic tissues, restrictions and guidelines for ethical conduct of such research have been developed.
Recommendation: If the federal government chooses to fund human stem cell research, proposals to work on human embryonic stem cells should be required to justify the decision on scientific