STREAM Research Group addresses key ethical and policy challenges of stem-cell-based interventions
Congratulations to Amanda MacPherson and Dr. Jonathan Kimmelman, from the STREAM Research Group, for their paper recently published in Nature Medicine: Ethical development of stem-cell-based interventions.
The clinical development of stem-cell-based interventions presents a number of unique ethical and policy challenges, such as premature clinical uptake, balanced reporting and public communications, and regulation. In this piece, we address a number of these challenges while recognizing that the value of stem-cell-based intervention research depends on the ability of healthcare systems to make new therapies accessible, the availability of alternative therapeutic options and parallel research trajectories, and the impact on public opinion and confidence in the research enterprise as a whole.
The process of developing new and complex stem-cell-based therapeutics is incremental and requires decades of sustained collaboration among different stakeholders. In this Perspective, we address key ethical and policy challenges confronting the clinical translation of stem-cell-based interventions (SCBIs), including premature diffusion of SCBIs to clinical practice, assessment of risk in trials, obtaining valid informed consent for research participants, balanced and complete scientific reporting and public communications, regulation, and equitable access to treatment. We propose a way forward for translating these therapies with the above challenges in mind.