Some ethicists suggest that tissue donors deserve a share of the tremendous commercial potential of iPS cell lines as disease models, drug-testing platforms or treatments. New partnerships could acknowledge the contributions of both the cell provider and the laboratories that grow and sustain iPS cell lines. Donors might share in some monetary rewards and be able to opt out of certain uses for iPS cells, such as for creating gametes or mixed species, or have a say in the overall direction of research, Solbakk suggested.
The stem cell society’s ethics committee is working on a paper that would explore the rights of tissue donors and make recommendations by the end of the year. Solbakk also hopes to hold more public forums that could clarify research advances while also stimulating reflection on ethical challenges. He said the society would continue its efforts to reduce hype in the field. A new Web site aims to help patients evaluate claims by clinics that offer stem cell treatment and even submit a clinic for review by the society. “The most vulnerable resource,” Solbakk said, “is trust.”
This article was originally published with the title Undifferentiated Ethics.