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NEWS OF THE WEEK
POLICY
March 11, 2002
Volume 80, Number 10
CENEAR 80 10 p. 12
ISSN 0009-2347
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CANADA ISSUES STEM CELL RULES
Research guidelines may prompt U.S. researchers to work abroad

WILLIAM SCHULZ

Canada has joined the U.K. as a country with flexible policies on human embryonic stem cell research.

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Bernstein
Last week, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in Ottawa announced guidelines on human pluripotent stem cell research that allow funding for work that uses stem cells from excess human embryos created for in vitro fertilization.

"Canadian researchers have been pioneers in this area of science and continue to lead the way," said CIHR President Alan Bernstein in announcing the guidelines. "With these guidelines in place, Canada is providing researchers and research ethics boards with a framework on how human pluripotent stem cells can be derived and used."

Bernstein said embryonic stem cell research will be eligible for funding by CIHR under the following conditions: the embryos created for reproductive purposes are no longer needed, the gamete providers have given free and informed consent for their use in research, and there were no commercial transactions involved in the creation and use of the embryos.

After President George W. Bush announced U.S. guidelines for funding stem cell research last August, some scientists expressed fear that U.S. stem cell researchers would pull up stakes and move to the U.K. or Canada, which had no rules in place at the time. In the U.K., regulations governing embryo research allow scientists to extract and grow for research purposes stem cells from human embryos.

With its new guidelines, "Canada is doing right," said George Q. Daley, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard University and a fellow at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass.

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