Ethics and Policy

All research at the Institute is undertaken in accordance with the highest ethical standards and guidelines. The Institute draws on the expertise of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics for guidance in addressing the ethical concerns surrounding embryonic and adult stem cell research. This guidance covers the broad implications of working with stem cells in both the laboratory and clinical context.

To further our understanding of the ethical, legal, political, social and economic impacts of stem cell research, the Center for Biomedical Ethics established the Program on Stem Cells and Society in 2006. The program studies the broader issues of stem cell development, serves as a resource for others and provides educational outreach to students.

To ensure compliance with both state and federal law, Stanford University has established a university-wide policy governing embryonic stem cell research and has a Stem Cell Research Oversight Panel (IRB/SCRO) which reviews stem cell research. The Panel consists of individuals with expertise in developmental biology, stem cell research, molecular biology, assisted reproduction, and ethical issues in human stem cell research.

The IRB/SCRO Panel is responsible for the protection of human participants in research and oversight of scientific and ethical considerations for human stem cell research. The IRB/SCRO Panel is a part of the Research Compliance Office and derives its authority from the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research. The Panel is part of the Human Research Protection Program which complies with federal, state, and Stanford policies. Additionally, the Panel oversees human stem cell research to verify that the research complies with guidelines and regulations of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.