Banking on it: Public policy and the ethics of stem cell research and development

Mita Giacomini, Francoise Baylis, Jason Robert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

If the therapeutic potential of stem cell-based therapies is ever realized, demand for stem cells and derivative tissues will be tremendous and will create new challenges for health care systems, especially publicly funded health care systems. We propose a framework for the ethical analysis of stem cell research and development that considers the welfare of communities, tissue recipients, and cell sources in relation to a range of stem cell production and distribution options. Ethical desiderata include: equitable access, maximized potential therapeutic benefit across demographic and disease groups, and reasonable cost. Other ethical priorities include the minimization of stem cell line and tissue wastage, risk of immune rejection, risk of transmitting diseases, the use of human embryos, and risk to those contributing source cells. We array plausible sources of stem cells and distribution strategies to characterize 12 potential models for producing and distributing cells and tissues in the future. We describe "personalized", "matched", and "universalized" models, and compare the ethical acceptability of these models. Popular and scientific discourses about stem cells typically emphasize personalized or matched stem cell distribution models. We show that universalized models may ultimately best serve the interest of taxpayers, communities and patients who hold high stakes in the therapeutic success of stem cell science. They are therefore highly worthy of scientific pursuit. This conclusion is provisional and the framework must be reapplied as scientific knowledge, technological capacity and ethical mores evolve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1490-1500
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume65
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2007

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stem cell research
Stem Cell Research
banking
Public Policy
ethics
Ethics
research and development
public policy
Stem Cells
moral philosophy
Research
stem
health care
distribution strategy
Disease
embryo
Ethical Analysis
community
Delivery of Health Care
recipient

Keywords

  • Bioethics
  • Ethics
  • Health policy
  • Resource allocation
  • Social values
  • Stem cells
  • Tissue sharing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Health(social science)

Cite this

Banking on it : Public policy and the ethics of stem cell research and development. / Giacomini, Mita; Baylis, Francoise; Robert, Jason.

In: Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 65, No. 7, 10.2007, p. 1490-1500.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Giacomini, Mita ; Baylis, Francoise ; Robert, Jason. / Banking on it : Public policy and the ethics of stem cell research and development. In: Social Science and Medicine. 2007 ; Vol. 65, No. 7. pp. 1490-1500.
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