NORTHBROOK, Ill., Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Responding to the successful nuclear transfer of a human adult somatic nucleus into a human egg by a team of South Korean researchers, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has called for a ban on human reproductive cloning.
ISSCR's executive board has issued a position paper on the recent developments in South Korea that says in part, "Such an advance in our knowledge calls for a serious response from the global community of stem cell researchers. The Board of International Society for Stem Cell Research, the academic community of stem cell scientists, calls unanimously for a complete ban on using stem cell technology to clone humans."
The International Society for Stem Cell Research is an independent, nonprofit organization established in 2002 to promote and foster the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas relating to stem cells, to encourage the general field of research involving stem cells and to promote professional and public education in all areas of stem cell research and application.
Members of the ISSCR board -- leaders in stem cell research, bioethics, and academia -- have been quoted in the February 12 issues of the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe among others. The ISSCR board of directors will continue to make themselves available to clarify issues on stem cells as they arise.
The complete ISSCR position statement follows. The statement and other press releases are on the ISSCR Web site ( http://www.isscr.org/ ).
ISSCR Statement on South Korean Cloning
International Science and Stem Cell Community Leadership
Human cloning has long been a matter of intense debate in the scientific, ethics and policy literature. Today's development, in which a South Korean research team has succeeded in developing a line of cloned human embryonic stem cells, holds great promise, for it is one small, iterative step towards understanding the complexities and intricacies of stem cell biology. The promise of regenerative medicine rests on precisely such steps, each one overcoming a part of the challenges.
It is wise to acknowledge the profundity of these challenges, yet for medical purposes, it is also important to realize the potential of the cells. Such an advance in our knowledge calls for a serious response from the global community of stem cell researchers. The Board of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), the academic community of stem cell scientists, calls unanimously for a complete ban on using stem cell technology to clone humans. At the same time, the ISSCR remains enthusiastic about the potential of nuclear transfer technology for discovery and therapeutic purposes, and fully supports continued research in this direction.
Scientists should be mindful to find the proper balance between unfettered inquiries into the principles of biology and medicine and their responsibility to humankind. Bioethics goes beyond lament to try to balance the tension between serious critique and responsible, pragmatic policy. Raising ethical issues regarding the nature, goal and meaning of basic stem cell science is part of the research. It is important to maintain a public conversation regarding stem cell research, and the ISSCR has opened its academic meetings to liberal and conservative points of view.
This new report takes place within a cascade of other research on stem cells. Clearly, stem cell science is beginning a remarkable journey. Courage, prudence and care will be critical aspects of the leadership that must be shown by this scientific community. A ban on reproductive aspects of cloning, while supporting continued research on nuclear transfer and stem cell biology, is a good way to demonstrate such leadership.
Leonard I. Zon President
Irving Weissman Vice-President
Doug Melton Treasurer
Laurie Zoloth Board Member
International Society for Stem Cell Research