Consent Problems May Stall Researchers’ Use of Some Embryonic Stem Cells
by Steven Ertelt
July 29, 2008
Palo Alto, CA (LifeNews.com) — Some of the embryonic stem cells that are eligible for limited federal funding may be off limits to researchers because of problems obtaining proper consent to use them. Scientists at Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University are concerned that consent for some of the cells was not properly obtained.
The concerns come after University of Wisconsin scientist Robert Streiffer obtained copies of the consent forms given to donors of the 21 lines that were approved for funding under a Bush policy of not funding any new embryonic research.
Streiffer found the forms did not conform to US National Academy of Sciences guidelines, with some of them having minor deviations and some having egregious errors.
Now, according to a report in the scientific journal Nature, research universities across the country are questioning whether they should use the cells and Stanford officials have ruled five of the lines off limits.
Story Landis, the head of the National Institutes of Health Stem Cell Task Force told Nature that it has no plans to take any of the lines out of its registry.
Streiffers paper deals with application of 2008 standards to cell lines that were put on the registry in 2001, she says.
Responding to the news, a leading pro-life advocate in England says the cells shouldn’t be used because unborn children — who couldn’t give their consent — were killed to obtain them.
"Firstly, these stem cell lines should not be used at all, because they were extracted by killing embryonic children," John Smeaton, the national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, told LifeNews.com.
"Those embryonic children were incapable of giving consent for the use of their cells, and no parent should give consent for procedures upon their children which are not in their children’s best clinical interests," he added.
"The manufacture of human life in the laboratory jeopardizes human life and human dignity, by subjecting one set of human beings to the mercy of another set," he said.
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.