International Stem Cell Forum welcomes three new members

Thu 19 Jan 2006

International Stem Cell Forum Meeting, Paris, hosted by Inserm.

The International Stem Cell Forum (ISCF) at its Annual Meeting, hosted by Inserm in Paris, welcomed three new members: the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Italian National Institute of Health and the Californian Institute of Regenerative Medicine.

The International Stem Cell Forum (ISCF), established four years ago, exists to promote good practice in research on human stem cells. The 19 participating organisations, from 17 countries, have agreed a set of key principles, including:

The ISCF recognises the variety of ethical positions and regulatory frameworks for stem cell research in different countries. The work of its various participating organizations covers the full range of stem cell types, from embryonic through to adult stem cells.

Yesterday, Thursday 12th January, the Forum’s Ethics Working Party met to continue discussion on ethical issues surrounding stem cell research, and today the Forum discussed progress in international collaboration, including standardised characterisation of stem cell lines, the establishment of a cell line registry, and cooperation between stem cell banks.

During the meeting, the participants of the ISCF (to which South Korea does not belong) discussed a report from Seoul National University, published this week, on the work of Professor Woo-suk Hwang. The participants expressed their grave concern about the evidence for misrepresentation in certain publications of Professor Hwang. They agreed unanimously that such behaviour, while itself unacceptable and highly detrimental to science in general, is distinct from the specific ethical issues of stem cell research. This unfortunate experience underscores the value of mechanisms for oversight in science. Collaboration and open exchange between research teams worldwide help to promote and maintain scientific integrity and transparency. The ISCF expresses the hope that this incident will not affect public confidence in the promise of stem cell research.

The ISCF aims to promulgate best practice in stem cell research. The characterisation, banking, registration and exchange of cell lines, towards which the ISCF is working, will help to prevent misrepresentation in the future.


Laure Thomas, Medical Research Council, UK +44 7711 805 026.

Séverine Ciancia, Inserm, Paris +33 1 44 23 60 86

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