Monday, July 21, 2008

A Re-Look at Friday's Egg Meeting

The California stem cell agency has taken issue with the way we have framed this coming Friday's meeting dealing with human eggs.

It is not really about availability, cost and prices, says CIRM. But rather about stem cell lines and embryos created through IVF treatments and their possible use in CIRM-financed research.

Geoff Lomax, senior officer for the Standards Working Group, said,
"You have got this one completely wrong and framed the meeting in a sensational and inflammatory way which does a disservice to thoughtful policy deliberations."
Lomax prepared the briefing paper – called "Use of Embryos Created for Reproductive Purposes with Paid Gametes" – for use at the Standards meeting later this week.

When we read it, we took a broader perspective, one that concerned the general availability of eggs for research and the economics behind their apparent scarcity.

But first CIRM must deal with the information Lomax presents in his background material as well that which will be brought to the table by others.

He wrote:
"Nationally, the CIRM policy deviates from other jurisdictions that have developed policies to advance stem cell research. This deviation has raised concerns over the ability of CIRM researchers to utilize materials derived under other jurisdictional policies or the National Academies Guidelines."
The issue of the use of human eggs is freighted with emotional and political baggage, plenty of which will surface eventually. But meantime, Lomax is trying to lay the groundwork for a straightforward consideration of practical issues that need attention sooner rather than later.

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