Science Policy Advice

Scientific review of the safety and efficacy of methods to avoid mitochondrial disease through assisted conception

The UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (as amended) allows for regulations to be passed that will allow techniques, which alter the mitochondrial DNA of an egg or embryo, to be used in assisted conception to prevent the transmission of serious mitochondrial disease.  In introducing this provision into the Act in 2008, the UK Government gave assurance that the power to make these regulations would only be considered once it was clear that the scientific procedures involved were effective and safe.  In February 2011, the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) agreed to a request from the Secretary of State for Health to scope “expert views on the effectiveness and safety of mitochondrial transfer”.

Prof. Robin Lovell-Badge co-chaired the expert review panel commissioned to review the safety and effectiveness of methods to avoid mitochondrial disease through assisted conception.  The report was submitted to the Department of Health on 18 April 2011.

More at UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

 

The Hinxton Group Statement on Policies and Practices Governing Data and Materials Sharing and Intellectual Property in Stem Cell Science

The Hinxton Group (an international consortium on stem cells, ethics, and law) has issued a statement on policies and practices governing data and materials sharing and intellectual property in stem cell science, aimed at making stem cell research more efficient and more beneficial to the common good.  More information.

Robin Lovell-Badge, a member of the Hinxton Group Steering Committee, said in an article published by Science on 24 January 2011 that several funding agencies have already expressed support in making the data available. Read more in Science


 

Japan Science and Technology Agency-Road Map for induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell research

The UCL Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine hosted a delegation from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (a major funding organisation related to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology-MEXT) as part of their surveillance study on trends and movements of stem cell researchers in the world to contribute to the Fourth Science & Technology Basic Plan (from 2011 to 2015) of the Japanese Government. The purpose of their visit on 25 January 2010 was to present their Road Map for induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell research and to discuss the future of stem cell research, induced pluripotent stem cell R& D as well as application scenarios.

 

UK Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee-Bioengineering Enquiry

The UCL Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine hosted a visit by a delegation from the UK Parliamentary Science & Technology Committee in the frame of their consultation on stem cell research, translation and regulations in the UK, as part of their Bioengineering enquiry.   Their visit on 15 December 2009 was followed by Prof. Chris Mason's presentation at the oral evidence session on stem cell science and translation held at the Parliament on 6 January 2010. 

Read the Bioengineering - Science and Technology Committee - Report on the UK Parliament web site.

 

Stem cell research policy and iPS cells

The field of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) will be subject to a wide range of laws and research ethics policies, many of which exist as a result of the controversies associated with research on human embryonic stem cells. Understanding this potentially complex regulatory environment will help iPSC research move forward and will inform future policy. These issues are discussed by Dr. Robin Lovell-Badge and colleagues in an article published by Nature Methods on January 2010.

 

iPS Cells: Mapping the Policy Issues

Dr. Robin Lovell-Badge and colleagues review issues associated with the procurement, basic research, and clinical translation of iPS cells and consider the various ethical, legal, and social implications of this fast-moving field in an article published by Cell on 11 December 2009.

 

Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Gametes: Truth and (Potential) Consequences

An emerging body of data suggests that pluripotent stem cells may be able to differentiate to form eggs and sperm.  Dr. Robin Lovell-Badge and colleagues discuss the state of the science and the potential social implications and offer recommendations for addressing some of the ethical and policy issues that would be raised by the availability of stem cell-derived gametes in an article published by Cell Stem Cell on 2 July 2009.

 

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