International Society for Stem Cell Research
|Legal status||501(c)(3) nonprofit organization|
|Headquarters||Skokie, Illinois, United States|
The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Skokie, Illinois, United States. The organization's mission is to promote excellence in stem cell science and applications to human health.
The International Society for Stem Cell Research was formed in 2002 (incorporated on March 30, 2001) to foster the exchange of information on stem cell research. Leonard Zon, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, served as the organization's first president.
In June 2003, the International Society for Stem Cell Research held its first convention. More than 600 scientists attended, many of whom expressed frustration over restrictions that President George W. Bush's administration had placed on the field of stem-cell research, slowing the pace of research. Scientists who were leaders in their fields were prohibited from using funding from the National Institutes of Health to conduct certain experiments that could provide significant medical achievements.
As a service to the field, in 2006 the ISSCR developed guidelines that address the international diversity of cultural, political, legal, and ethical perspectives related to stem cell research and its translation to medicine. The guidelines were designed to underscore widely shared principles in science that call for rigor, oversight, and transparency in all areas of practice. Adherence to the ISSCR guidelines would provide assurance that stem cell research is conducted with scientific and ethical integrity and that new therapies are evidence-based. In response to advances in science, the guidelines were updated in 2008, and again in 2016 to encompass a broader and more expansive scope of research and clinical endeavor than before, imposing rigor on all stages of the research, addressing the cost of regenerative medicine products, and highlighting the need for accurate and effective public communication. The 2016 Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Clinical Translation have been adopted by researchers, clinicians, organizations, and institutions around the world.
In March 2015, scientists, including an inventor of CRISPR, urged a worldwide hold on germline gene therapy, writing "scientists should avoid even attempting, in lax jurisdictions, germline genome modification for clinical application in humans" until the full implications "are discussed among scientific and governmental organizations".
After the publication that a Chinese group had used CRISPR to modify a gene in human embryos, the group repeated their call for a suspension of "attempts at human clinical germ-line genome editing while extensive scientific analysis of the potential risks is conducted, along with broad public discussion of the societal and ethical implications."
The ISSCR’s Annual Meetings are the largest stem cell research conferences in the world, drawing over 3,900 attendees in 2017. The ISSCR’s membership includes international leaders of stem cell research representing over 60 countries worldwide.
- "Headquarters Staff". International Society for Stem Cell Research. Accessed on May 17, 2016.
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- "Chinese Manipulation of Human Embryo Genes Draws Rebuke". Wall Street Journal. 23 April 2015.
- "About ISSCR". www.isscr.org. Retrieved 2019-01-25.