Saturday, September 13, 2008

Doing the Public's Business in Public

Consumer Watchdog's John Simpson usually spends his days tracking events at the California stem cell agency, but recently he attended a meeting of the Interstate Alliance on Stem Cell Research.

That group is even less well known than CIRM, which sometimes worries that its name does not tell the full story of a $3 billion California human embryonic stem cell research effort.(see item below)

The IASCR, as the alliance is known, indirectly grew out of Prop. 71, the ballot measure that created CIRM in 2004. The research effort in California spawned similar ones by other states, raising concerns about scientific and bureaucratic chaos in research standards.

Thinkers at the National Academy of Sciences and elsewhere decided that something must be done to keep everybody on sort of the same track. Otherwise research would be impaired. Thus the IASCR came about.

Earlier this week, Simpson participated in two days of meetings by the IASCR in Baltimore and reports that the meeting seemed to be a success. The group decided to develop a model form for states to use in helping to certify that stem cells have been ethically derived.

Simpson writes on his organization's blog that it was a good decision, one that was debated and decided in public. That is significant since Simpson a couple of years ago was kicked out of a meeting of the group in Irvine, Ca., despite an earlier invitation to attend.

The current openness of the IASCR is healthy, Simpson writes, and adds credibility to the organization and the entire stem cell research effort. We agree. Sphere: Related Content

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