Statement of Task of the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee will meet two to three times per year over a period of 36 months to (1) monitor and review scientific developments and changing ethical, legal, and policy issues related to human embryonic stem cell research, (2) discuss the need for revisions to the Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research, and (3) prepare periodic reports to update the Guidelines as needed. Minimal but necessary changes may be issued as letter reports, but more extensive modifications may necessitate the preparation of traditional reports to fully provide the rationale for the changes.

Sources of information that will be considered by the Advisory Committee will include public symposia organized by the Committee to review developments in stem cell science and how these impact the ethical and policy issues surrounding hES cell research.

they urged the National Academies to consider correcting or clarifying aspects of the Guidelines in the light of experience.

Responding to these requests for revision and ongoing monitoring, the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee was established in 2006 with support from The Ellison Medical Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee has engaged in a number of efforts to gather information about the need, if any, for revision of the Guidelines. The Committee met for the first time in July 2006 and heard from a number of invited guests representing organizations and academic institutions that are actively involved in stem cell research. In addition, in early November 2006, the Committee organized a symposium at which invited speakers reviewed the latest scientific developments, described how these developments might affect the analysis of associated ethical issues, and identified possible effects on the workability or justifiability of the current Guidelines. The Committee also hosted a panel discussion at the symposium for representatives of seven Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight (ESCRO) committees.1 This panel shared their experiences in working with the content and procedures of the Guidelines.


The 2005 Guidelines called for institutions involved in hES cell research to establish ESCRO committees to provide institutional oversight on all issues related to derivation and use of hES cell lines and to facilitate education of investigators involved in hES cell research.

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