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Centre for Trophoblast Research



The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has released new guidance in response to emerging areas of stem cell and embryo research, after a two-year consultation with experts in science, ethics and law including Professors Kathy Niakan and Azim Surani. Previous issues of the guidelines have been highly influential, providing an ethical basis for regulation and research principles.

The updated guidelines call for a specialised oversight process of novel stem cell projects, including broad participation from experts and from the public, as well as informed consent from all stakeholders and stringent safety testing before new treatments are used therapeutically. Instead of a fixed time-limit for human embryo culture, the guidelines recommend a rigorous and thoughtful public deliberative process, requiring that research is clearly justified and involves culturing the minimum number of embryos for the shortest period of time. The new areas addressed include embryo research, stem cell embryo models, chimeras, organoids, germline genome editing and mitochondrial replacement techniques.