Transnational Cooperation in Stem Cell Research Meeting: February 22 – February 24, 2006, Wellcome Trust Conference Centre, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, UK.

The purpose of this meeting was to explore the ethical and policy challenges which scientists, universities, and scientific journals face as a consequence of national variations in policy governing embryo research and stem cell sciences. Our goal was to foster international and interdisciplinary collaboration in this area of scholarship.

Specific aims:

  • Identify the primary challenges faced by scientists, universities, and journal editors with respect to international collaboration in stem cell research;
  • Determine the extent to which it may be possible to develop guidance for conduct that could be useful across national boundaries and national legal regimes;
  • Explore the role of oversight and data sharing in international research;
  • Explore the question of oocyte donation and related issues; and
  • Identify forward-looking strategies to foster the scientific and ethical integrity of research in a global context.

On the first day of the meeting, we distributed a draft consensus document developed through discussions and debates of the steering committee. This document was meant merely as a place to start the conversation and was in no way intended to be viewed as settled. We hoped, over the course of the three days, to come to some consensus in the form of statements and/or recommendations that could be reported out, with all the weight of this highly prestigious, highly interdisciplinary group. If, however, consensus was not possible, that too would have been important and could have been reported. A report detailing the proceedings and recommendations of this group has been published by the steering committee as a policy forum in the August 18, 2006 issue of Science, along with a related editorial by Dr. Ruth Faden. Additional publications, related in some way to this meeting are available on this website. We also hope to convene a number of smaller writing groups, consisting of Hinxton Group members, who will continue to work beyond the three day meeting to develop scholarly papers on more focused topics that arise out of the discussions. Finally, we will pursue the goals set forth in the consensus statement and additional forward-looking strategies to foster the scientific and ethical integrity of research in a global context recommended by the group.

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