Ethics and Policy

The Stem Cell Network believes that Canadian researchers must work within an ethical and legal framework that reflects the values of the majority of Canadians.

Ethics Whitepapers

Stem cell research—particularly research on human embryonic stem cells—raises a wide range of complex and challenging issues. SCN’S Public Policy & Ethical, Legal and Social Issues research program is recognized as a global leader in exploring these issues in depth, publishing frequently in Science, Nature and international policy journals. To encourage and facilitate informed public debate, SCN has produced downloadable white papers on a range of topics. They are authored by Lori P. Knowles, LLB, BCL, MA, LLM, an independent consultant specializing in biotechnology law and ethics. She is a Research Fellow at the Health Law Institute, University of Alberta Law School. Correspondence regarding these papers can be addressed to loripknowles@gmail.com.

Note on citing these works: When citing SCN Ethics Whitepapers, please use the citation format provided in the 'Summary' section of each topic.

Ethics and Stem Cell Research
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White Paper PDF download

What are Stem Cells and Where do They Come from?
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White Paper PDF download

The Use of Human Embryos in Stem Cell Research
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White Paper PDF download

Religion and Stem Cell Research
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White Paper PDF download

Issues in Procurement of Embryonic Stem Cells:
Informed Consent and Conflicts of Interest

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White Paper PDF download

Stem Cell Patents
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White Paper PDF download

Commercialization and Stem Cell Research
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White Paper PDF download

Ethics of Research Using Hybrids, Chimeras and Cytoplasmic Hybrids
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White Paper PDF download

Stem Cell Hype and the Dangers of Stem Cell “Tourism”
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White Paper PDF download

Canada’s Regulatory Oversight of Stem Cell Research
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White Paper PDF download

Stem Cell Banks, Libraries and Registries
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White Paper PDF download

Online resources

Stem Cell Ethics Education website, an educational resource for all those who use it. A useful starting point to engage in the process of ethical analysis. Addresses questions about topics such as the ethics of publishing work, the ethical review process, and the protection of animal and human subjects.

Testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, November 2, 2010 from Dr. Michael Rudnicki (English | French), Drew Lyall (English | French) and Dr. Janet Rossant (English)

Proceedings from "Beyond the Embryo: Transnational, Transdisciplinary and Translational Perspectives on Stem Cell Research" include articles on open access, intellectual property, China's developing stem cell regulations, media coverage of stem cell research and stem cell tourism. Published in the journal SCRIPT-ed, 2010, 7(2): 242-420.

SCN Research Ethical Guidelines

SCN research adheres fully to the laws of Canada and to the strictest moral and ethical guidelines. Research conducted with embryonic stem cells must follow strict guidelines established by the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR). For detailed information about the CIHR guidelines and how they are applied, click on the links below.

CIHR Stem Cell Research
Stem Cell Research Guidelines
Stem Cell Oversight Committee
Implementation of the Stem Cell Research Guidelines

Policy Papers

In November 2005, the Network formed a Policy Development Committee, co-chaired by Drs. Janet Rossant and Bartha Maria Knoppers, to consider stem cell research public policy issues and to develop SCN position papers for approval by the SCN Board. The first of these papers are listed below.

Use of human embryos for stem cell research

The need for public umbilical cord blood collection