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

The Advisory Committee will meet 2 to 3 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.

The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee continues to engage in a number of efforts to gather information about the need, if any, for revision of the Guidelines. For example, the Committee conducted three regional meetings (in southern California, Chicago, and the Boston area) in the first half of 2007 for those involved in institutional Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight (ESCRO) committees to hear from people in the field about their experiences in implementing the Guidelines and any problems they have encountered. In addition, the Committee participated in a day-long session on ESCRO committees at the annual meeting of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R) in December 2007 to gather more feedback from the community.

The Committee also met in March and August 2007 and in February 2008 to hear from invited speakers who addressed issues that the Committee has taken under consideration for potential further amendments to the Guidelines. Finally, the Committee is planning a second symposium (its first was held in November 2006) for November 2008 to hear invited speakers review the latest scientific developments, describe how the developments might affect analyses of associated ethical issues, and identify possible effects on the workability or justifiability of the current Guidelines. The meeting will

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