Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More Attention Needed to Public Needs in Stem Cell Research

More attention should be focused on the public obligations of embryonic stem cell research, says a UC Berkeley faculty member in an article in "Trends in Biotechnology."

David Winickoff, who is a discussant at a two-day stem cell and ethics conference later this week in the San Francisco Bay area, wrote:
"In the USA the selection of funding priorities, IP policies, a regime of egg donation in California, and other public initiatives will help set the national and international trajectory for hESC research. Considering the high stakes of these policies, more attention should focus on the public obligations of government-funded hESC research and its commitment to an equitable distribution of risks and benefits as policies are implemented. Taking a cue from the UK, centralized stem cell banking in California would bring general gains in efficiency and create a pragmatic opportunity to construct an ethical and legal architecture for long-term public return. This vision of stem cell banks as social infrastructure would provide useful flexibility in the face of a fast-evolving ethical frontier and help build trust between scientific institutions and society."
Winickoff, an assistant professor of bioethics and society, will appear on the panel on Friday at UC San Francisco on academy-industry alliances. Here is a link to the full schedule and other details.

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