The ISCF is currently working on several projects aimed at addressing key issues for stem cell scientists and funders:
Ethics Working Party (EWP) – A working group is reviewing the ethical policies of countries throughout the world regarding stem cell research. The work includes drawing up a global ‘ethical landscape’ document that will facilitate further discussion of country-specific ethical issues.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) – A working group is looking at regulations for intellectual property rights in the different countries active in stem cell research. The group is collating existing reports on IPR from Forum members, with a view to drawing up global guidelines to help prevent researchers infringing existing patents on stem cell technology, and to help them protect their own IPR where appropriate.
The International Stem Cell Initiative (ISCI) – An expert working group is developing a global set of standardised criteria for the derivation, characterisation and maintenance of stem cell lines. This work involves selected laboratories throughout the world, and the reults of phase I have now been published. A registry of fully characterised and ethically sourced human embryoinic stem cell lines has also been established.
The International Stem Cell Banking Initiative (ISCBI) – This initiative aims to create a global network of stem cell banks, both by encouraging the setting up of new banks in member countries and by supporting existing banks.