Main Text Stem cell research
Stem cell research remains an exploding area of investigation with the potential to change human health. As the field continues to grow, so does the ISSCR and its role as the world’s largest professional organization of stem cell scientists. Our mission to promote good science and responsible clinical Sulfo-NHS-LC-Biotin has never been as important as it is today.
In all areas of stem cell science and translation, the ISSCR seeks to promote best practices and high standards, and the ISSCR’s recently published “Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Clinical Translation” will be instrumental for researchers around the world (http://www.isscr.org/guidelines2016). These guidelines are the culmination of 2 years of work from an ISSCR task force of scientists, bioethicists, and clinical researchers. Under the leadership of bioethicist Jonathan Kimmelman and board member George Daley, the task force reviewed and updated the ISSCR’s “Guidelines for the Conduct of Human Embryonic Stem Cells” (2006) and “Guidelines for the Clinical Translation of Stem Cells” (2008). At the ISSCR’s 2015 meeting in Stockholm, the ISSCR presented a draft document of the updated guidelines and in the following months solicited feedback from many stakeholders around the world, including scientific societies, regulatory authorities, patient advocacy organizations, and funding agencies. The result—the “ISSCR’s Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Clinical Translation” (2016)—offers a set of standards that achieve rigor, appropriate oversight, and transparency in all aspects of stem cell research, as well as protecting patient welfare and promoting social justice. In Daley et al. (pp. 787–797) in this issue of Stem Cell Reports, the task force highlights the core principles embodied in the guidelines and outlines key deliberations and recommendations. We look forward to continuing the dialog on these issues that are central to our goal of improving human health through stem cell research.
The public-facing informational website, “A Closer Look at Stem Cells” (http://www.closerlookatstemcells.org), plays a central role in ISSCR’s communications efforts. Launched with new content and a new look in April 2015, the site provides key background information for the public about stem cell science and its translational applications. This month, the ISSCR launched a Spanish-language page within the “A Closer Look at Stem Cells” website that offers many of the website’s resources, making information about stem cell science and medicine accessible to a wider international audience. Increasingly, the site is promoted to the media as a source of information and to the public via social media and other channels. These efforts will continue and will focus on growing audiences around the globe.
Stem Cell Reports is another arm of the ISSCR’s efforts to provide voice and visibility to progress in the field. I would like to acknowledge the driving force behind the journal, Editor-in-Chief Christine Mummery; Associate Editors, past and present, Nissim Benvenisty, Thomas Graf, Hideyuki Okano, David Scadden, and Amy Wagers; and Managing Editor Yvonne Fischer. I congratulate them on their delivery of strong editorial leadership, providing fast and fair review and publication of well-documented stem cell research and its applications.
With this issue of Stem Cell Reports, we honor Paolo Bianco (1955–2015), a member of the recent ISSCR guidelines effort, a co-recipient of the 2014 ISSCR Public Service Award, and a staunch supporter of rigor in science and accurate communication. In this issue is an article by Riminucci, Robey, Bianco, and colleagues that celebrates Paolo’s legacy by clarifying the potential of mesenchymal stromal cells from different tissues in vivo (Sachetti et al., pp. 897–913).
Main Text As the largest international professional organization engaged with stem cell research, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has promoted both rigorous scientific inquiry and careful ethical deliberations regarding stem cell science and regenerative medicine. Through its Guidelines for the Conduct of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research (ISSCR, 2006) and Guidelines for the Clinical Translation of Stem Cells (ISSCR, 2008), the ISSCR has set high standards, offering concrete mechanisms for review and conduct of research and clinical development. These guidelines were designed to promote rapid yet responsible advances in fundamental knowledge and the clinical application of stem cell science. However, in the decade since the release of the first ISSCR guidelines, stem cell science has made remarkable advances but has also encountered numerous new ethical, social, and policy challenges. For example, new discoveries and techniques such as gene editing or mitochondrial replacement offer bold possibilities while also posing ethical conundrums. Moreover, stem cell science and clinical application are increasingly pursued across geographical and boundaries, necessitating the need for policies that can be applied internationally. In an effort to keep pace with these many new developments and future prospects, the ISSCR has undertaken a comprehensive revision of its guidelines to account for scientific progress, policy developments, globalization of stem cell activities, and evolving ethics scholarship.