ists should go in mixing human and animal cells to create so-called chimeras, which researchers may need to do in order to test the therapeutic potential of human stem cells in animal models. The guidelines say no animal embryonic stem cells should be transplanted into a human blastocyst, and approval by an ESCRO committee should be secured before any human embryonic stem cells are put into an animal. Also, no animal into which human embryonic stem cells have been introduced should be allowed to breed. In addition, no human embryonic stem cells should be put into nonhuman primate blastocysts.
Human embryonic stem cells should be introduced into nonhuman mammals only under circumstances where no other experiment can provide the information needed, the guidelines say. Experiments in which there is a possibility that human cells could contribute in a "major organized way" to the brain of an animal require strong scientific justification, the committee added.
The committee urged the formation of a national independent body to periodically review whether the guidelines need to be updated in light of unforeseen advances in stem cell science and evolving public attitudes.
The National Academies developed the guidelines on behalf of the scientific community and without government involvement. Although compliance is voluntary, the committee called on private funders, professional societies, journals, research institutions, and others involved in embryonic stem cell studies, to require adherence to the guidelines.
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Contact: William Kearney
The National Academies
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