Federal Relations

NIH Issues New Stem Cell Research Guidelines

Yesterday, July 6th, the National Institutes of Health issued new guidelines for the use of embryonic stem cells in research. The new guidelines reflect feedback received during a public comment period. Several higher education associations have praised NIH for addressing concerns with the initial draft guidelines.

SUMMARY: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is hereby publishing final “National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research” (Guidelines).

On March 9, 2009, President Barack H. Obama issued Executive Order 13505: Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells. The Executive Order states that the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the Director of NIH, may support and conduct responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research, to the extent permitted by law.

These Guidelines implement Executive Order 13505, as it pertains to extramural NIH-funded stem cell research, establish policy and procedures under which the NIH will fund such research, and helps ensure that NIH-funded research in this area is ethically responsible, scientifically worthy, and conducted in accordance with applicable law. Internal NIH policies and procedures, consistent with Executive Order 13505 and these Guidelines, will govern the conduct of intramural NIH stem cell research.

EFFECTIVE DATE: These Guidelines are effective on July 7, 2009.

SUMMARY OF PUBLIC COMMENTS ON DRAFT GUIDELINES: On April 23, 2009 the NIH published draft Guidelines for research involving hESCs in the Federal Register for public comment, 74 Fed. Reg. 18578 (April 23, 2009). The comment period ended on May 26, 2009.

The NIH received approximately 49,000 comments from patient advocacy groups, scientists and scientific societies, academic institutions, medical organizations, religious organizations, and private citizens. The NIH also received comments from members of Congress. This Notice presents the final Guidelines together with the NIH response to public comments that addressed provisions of the Guidelines.

Full NIH Guidelines on Embryonic Stem Cell Research