Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Approval

Title: Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Approval
Policy Owner: Office of the Vice President for Research
Applies to: Faculty, Researchers
Campus Applicability:  All Campuses
Effective Date: March 28, 2012
For More Information, Contact Stem Cell Office
Contact Information: (860) 486-1725
Official Website: http://uconncgs.uchc.edu/stemcell_institute/

PURPOSE:

To ensure that proposals for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research and selected types of human induced pluripotent stem cell research are approved by the Institution’s Stem Cell Research Oversight (SCRO) Committee.

The University of Connecticut established an Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee (ESCRO) Committee in 2006.  Its name was changed to the Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee  (SCRO) in December 2009 to reflect the expansion of its mandate to other types of pluripotent cells.

The role of the University of Connecticut’s Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee (SCRO) is to ensure that human stem cell research is well-justified and that inappropriate and unethical research is not conducted.  Its mandate is to provide oversight of ethical issues related to the derivation and research use of human pluripotent stem cell lines at all schools, colleges, campuses, and research arms of the University of Connecticut.

From a legal perspective, the review and approval of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research by a SCRO committee or its equivalent is required by the State of Connecticut.  SCRO review and approval of hESC research and some types of other pluripotent stem cell research is also required by the University of Connecticut’s institutional policy.  SCRO oversight facilitates the collaboration between researchers across institutions by adopting what are becoming nationally and internationally accepted standards and protects the reputation of the University of Connecticut for its conduct of ethical and responsible research.

DEFINITIONS:

Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC)

Human embryonic stem cells are pluripotent cells that are self-replicating, derived from human embryos, and are capable of developing into cells and tissues of the three primary germ layers.  Although human embryonic stem cells may be derived from embryos, such stem cells are not themselves embryos.

Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC)

Human induced stem cells are a type of pluripotent stem cell that has been artificially created by reprogramming non-pluripotent human cells through techniques that do not involve oocytes or embryos, e.g. through inserting genes into a somatic cell.

SCOPE of SCRO OVERSIGHT

All research projects in the following categories are required to obtain SCRO approval before acquiring cells or cell lines and commencing research:

  • All stem cell research involving  human embryonic stem cells; pluripotent cells, and their derivatives;
  • All stem cell research projects funded by the State of Connecticut; including those that do not use human embryonic stem cells;
  • All stem cell research involving human gametes and human embryos;
  • in vitro human induced pluripotent stem cell research  involving the generation of gametes, embryos, or other types of totipotent cells;
  • in vivo human induced pluripotent stem cell research involving implantation of human cells  into prenatal animals or into the central nervous system of post-natal animals.

Review by the SCRO Committee supplements but does not replace the usual reviews for compliance with federal, state, and local regulations (e.g. reviews by animal care committees, Institutional Review Boards, Biological Safety Committees, etc.).

The Human Stem Cell Application Form must be completed and submitted to the SCRO Committee.  The application, amendment, and annual renewal forms are available from the SCRO website (link) http://scro.uconn.edu/forms.html

Stem Cell Office contact:  Dana Howard 860-486-1725 or Dana.Howard@uconn.edu