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Stem Cell Rev. 2012 Jun;8(2):299-304. doi: 10.1007/s12015-011-9305-z.

Stem cell policy exceptionalism: proceed with caution.

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  • 1California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, 210 King Street, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA.


The term "stem cell exceptionalism" has been used to characterize the policy response to controversies surrounding human embryonic stem cell research. For example, governments and funding agencies have adopted policies governing the derivation and use of human embryonic stem cell lines. These policies have effectively served to fill gaps in existing guidelines and regulations and signal that scientists are committed to a responsible framework for the conduct of research involving human embryos. Recent publications discuss whether ethical and policy issues associated with induced pluripotent cells (iPSCs) from non-embryonic sources create a need for further policy intervention. We suggest many of the issues identified by commentators may be addressed through the application of established policy frameworks governing the use of tissue, human stem cells, and research participation by human research subjects. To the extent, iPSC research intersects with hESC research (e.g. the creation of human gametes and/or embryos), the policy framework governing hESC appears sufficiently robust at this time.

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