The Association of American Universities (AAU) has provided comment on proposed NIH Stem Cell Guidelines (see below).
May 27, 2009
AAU President Robert M. Berdahl yesterday submitted AAU’s comments on proposed guidelines for human embryonic stem cell research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The AAU letter praises President Obama’s March 9, 2009 Executive Order removing Bush Administration constraints on stem cell research, commends NIH for issuing draft guidelines for such research promptly, and expresses support of the proposed guidelines.
The letter also raises several concerns, including the following:
- It recommends that stem cell lines derived before August 9, 2001, that are currently eligible for NIH funding not be subjected to retroactive consent and approval processes and that they remain eligible for federal funding.
- It recommends that stem cell lines derived under appropriate guidelines after August 9, 2001, and before the effective date of the new regulations also not be subjected to retroactive consent and approval processes and that they be made eligible for federal funding going forward.
- It expresses disappointment that the proposed guidelines unnecessarily limit federal support to research on cell lines derived from surplus in vitro fertilization embryos, making lines derived by other methods—such as somatic cell nuclear transfer—ineligible for federal funding.
- It recommends that NIH rely on institutional assurances and material transfer agreements in regulating the research use and sharing of cell lines, and that review and approval by institutional review boards of such lines or transfers not be required.