Stem cells and informed consent: What’s the right balance?

Date & Time

Wed, 06/01/2011


Human stem cells can be derived now in many different ways, but all of these approaches require a common starting point: Consent of the original donors of cells or embryos.

Standards of responsible research require us to be sure that donors have provided truly informed consent, but those standards have evolved quickly in the past few years.  One of the difficult challenges now facing researchers and those who regulate research is to decide how best to deal with earlier informed consent documents that may not meet current standards.

Fundamentally, a key question is: Should we now protect that original donor by not making use of her or his donation?  Alternatively, should we protect the expectation of that original donor that their donation would be readily used for research?

Science Fair Awards:

As part of this special Exploring Ethics program, the 2011 Ethics in Science Awards will be presented to the winners of this year’s essay competition.  Please join us in congratulating these high school students for their efforts to think through some of the ethical challenges related to their Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair projects.


Schmidt C (2004): Doug Melton Releases New Stem Cell Lines.

Streiffer R (2008): Informed consent and federal funding for stem cell research. Hastings Center Report 38(3):40-7.

NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry

San Diego Research Ethics Consortium first year continuing education requirements

Post Event Links:

Stem cells and informed consent: What’s the right balance? Kalichman_Stem_Cells


Michael Kalichman
UC San Diego

Dr. Kalichman is the founding director of the UC San Diego Research Ethics Program, director of the San Diego Research Ethics Consortium, the founding and past president for the Responsible Conduct of Research Education Consortium (RCREC), project director for a Web-based resource for instructors of courses in the responsible conduct of research, the director of NIH-funded research to assess the effectiveness of teaching research ethics and the standards of conduct in research, co-founder and co-director of the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology, and chair of the Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight (ESCRO) Committee at UC San Diego.

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