Bioethics Advisory committee seeks community feedback on human stem cell research
Consultation paper distributed to over 30 community groups in Singapore, including religious, patient, medical and scientific to obtain their views
Since its appointment in December 2000, the Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC) has formed three Subcommittees to focus on the specific issues of Human Stem Cell Research, Human Genetics, and Publicity. In particular, the Human Stem Cell Research Subcommittee (HSR) was formed to address the ethical, legal and social issues associated with the use of human stem cells in biomedical research and development.
Over the past months, the BAC has thoroughly considered the relevant scientific, ethical and legal issues surrounding the use of human stem cells in biomedical research. This was achieved through international fact-finding and comparisons, local commissioned papers from scientific and ethical experts, and internal deliberations.
A consultation paper has been drafted by the HSR Subcommittee. The paper covers the following key issues relating to human stem cell research:
- Scientific considerations pertaining to the types and uses of human stem cells
- Ethical and social concerns, in particular, with regards to embryonic stem cell research
- Related issues of human reproductive and human therapeutic cloning
Said Mr Richard Magnus, Chairman of the Human Stem Cell Research Subcommittee: “There are many differing views with regards to human stem cell research and it is critical that we take into proper consideration the whole spectrum of views from a wide variety of community groups.”
Added Professor Lim Pin, Chairman of the Bioethics Advisory Committee: “As Singapore strives to develop in the biomedical sciences, it is important that an effective bioethics framework is developed for biomedical research, which allows potential benefits to be derived, while at the same time, ensures that the research meets and adheres to ethical guidelines and standards.”
The consultation paper was distributed to 38 organisations on Friday, 9 November 2001, and the respective organisations have been requested to submit their feedback to the BAC by 30 November 2001. Subsequently, a series of dialogue sessions will be conducted with groups to discuss and better understand the various views and concerns raised. These dialogue sessions will commence in December, and the BAC will prepare its final recommendations to the Life Sciences Ministerial Committee by early next year.
The Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC) was appointed by the Government in December 2000 to address the ethical, legal and social issues arising from research on human biology and behaviour, and its applications. It is chaired by Prof Lim Pin, University Professor at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Faculty of Medicine. The BAC is charged to develop and recommend policies to the Life Sciences Ministerial Committee on these issues, with the aim of protecting the rights and welfare of individuals, while allowing the biomedical sciences to develop and realize its full potential for the benefit of mankind.
For media queries, please contact:
Ms Trina Liew
Corporate Communications, NSTB
DID: 770 5897