oa South African Journal of Bioethics and Law - Towards guidelines for informed consent for prospective stem cell research : informed consent
Stem cell science is advancing at an unprecedented rate, with thousands of research papers being published every year and many clinical trials for a wide range of conditions underway as registered on ClinicalTrials.gov. This rapidly expanding and alluring field has brought with it ever more complex and multifaceted ethical issues, many of which require new guidelines, consent protocols and even change in legislation, since they do not fit comfortably in the existing bioethical regulations and protocols. Keeping up with the ethical implications of stem cell research is daunting to the expert and non-expert. We review the various types of stem cells and then focus on multipotent and pluripotent cell types, since it is these cell types that bring with them the greatest research and therapeutic potential, while concurrently delivering novel ethical conundrums. Certain key considerations are currently lacking and what is needed is how to obtain permission from individuals who donate their biological material for both scientific inquiry and eventually, for their potential therapeutic utility.
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