Last Hurrah From National Academies Stem Cell Committee

Even though the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued stem cell guidelines last year, there's still a need for guidelines for research that remains off-limits for U.S. government-funded labs. That's one message from a brief final report released today by the National Academies' National Research Council and Institute of Medicine committee on human embryonic stem (hES) cells.

In its third update to a 2005 report, the committee says that NIH's guidance should prevail over the Academies' whenever there's overlap. But guidelines such as the Academies' are still needed for research that can't be done with federal grants, says the six-page report (not counting appendices). That includes the derivation of new lines, work involving animal-human cell chimeras, and studies with lines made from embryos that were created for research purposes.

The committee decided to disband because any big controversies in the future will likely center on the uses of stem cells rather than their derivation. But the National Academies may want to hold forums with stakeholders on stem cell topics, the report suggests.