Monday, January 30, 2006

Standards Meeting Report from the Alliance for Stem Cell Research

More on the ethics of stem cell research, informed consent and the issue of cash-for-eggs today at a meeting of the Standards Working Group in Los Angeles from folks who were there.

Unfortunately we were not able to attend, and the CIRM event was not available at offsite locations or on the Web. So we asked some of the regular observers -- critics and supporters of CIRM -- if they were interested in sending us a report from the trenches. CIRM was invited as well. We promised to publish the reports verbatim.

The following is from Susan DeLaurentis, president and CEO of the Alliance for Stem Cell Research. Like Don Reed, who reported in an earlier item, she is an unabashed supporter of CIRM. Here are her comments.

Last week, I left the IP Task Force meeting (from a remote location-UCLA) feeling hopeful that a spirit of collaboration had finally begun to be realized. The public's input was listened to, respected and incorporated into the draft regulations. The concerns of Senator Deborah Ortiz, reflected in her proposed constitutional amendment, SCA 13, had been principally addressed. And the entire process felt open and inclusive.

Today's meeting of the CIRM Standards Working Group continued that same inclusive and collaborative spirit. It was made clear that the input of the public was a necessary component to crafting the best possible standards for stem cell research. And, again, the concerns of Senator Ortiz, reflected in her legislation, SB18, were principally addressed. There was extensive discussion about the informed consent process and the protections for women who donate eggs for research.

Finally, there is a true synergy with the CIRM, the public, and the legislature.

Our hope is that this spirit of partnership and respect continues. The full ICOC meeting at Stanford next week will be a great opportunity for all of us representing the public to see if this is the case. This is what we expected from the CIRM and the promise of open meetings. And, finally, this is what we are getting.

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