Tuesday, May 12, 2009

CIRM Seeks Changes in NIH hESC Plans

The CIRM board of directors today approved recommendations for changes in proposed NIH rules for research involving human embryonic stem cells.

The action came on a 20-0 vote in a session during which directors were told that 7,000 responses to the rules had been received by the NIH. CIRM Chairman Robert Klein said the responses were running 7 to 1 against.

CIRM supports the NIH plans with some changes. The opposition appears to oppose them outright for religious reasons.

Board members were encouraged to individually call on their constituencies to file comments on behalf of hESC research with the NIH. Philip Pizzo, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine, said he had already done so in his weekly newsletter and emailed a copy of his comments to board staff for wider distribution.

Klein said the agency could not legally ask all its grant recipients in a “mass mailing” to support hESC research, but he said individual board members were free to do whatever they wished.

Geoff Lomax, senior officer for the CIRM Standards Working Group, developed the recommendations following a public hearing and contacts with researchers. He said the suggestions were aimed at avoiding the loss of material that is needed scientifically and already in use.

The document presented to the board will be refined by attorneys and staff before it is sent to the NIH by May 26. Sphere: Related Content


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