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New convention proposal for human embryonic stem cell derivation

01 February, 2007

Experts have proposed a new convention for the reporting on the derivation of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines. The proposal also includes recommendations on the minimum information required to establish this new standard.

There is no universally agreed method for reporting the quality and stage of embryo used as a starting material for hESC line derivation, and this lack of a consistent reporting system has made comparison of methodologies and results difficult.

Agreeing a standard and reporting on the number, and grade, of embryos reaching each stage of growth allows for many benefits including, comparisons between protocols, increased culture efficiency and an overall contribution to best IVF and stem cell manufacturing practice.

The proposal was co-authored by Emma Stephenson (University College London, & King's College London), Peter Braude (King's College London, Guy's and St. Thomas' Foundation Trust) and Chris Mason (University College London).

The author's comment: "The aim si that our proposal begins the 'bottom-up' debate to identify the need and scope of the minimum information metadata to be captured in the future standard for derivation of hESC line." They continue: "If a standardised grading system is established for hESC derivation, researchers can be confident that the grading will be consistent and reproducible.'

It is widely accepted that open and transparent reporting of results would move the hESC field more rapidly towards clinical translation and application.

The proposal was written with the support of several international experts from the stem cells community. Jennifer Nichols from the Welcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research at the University of Cambridge, commented: "It is a heroic effort. I found it (the proposal) very clear and it will be most useful for those of us who care about the derivation process in the future."

The authors hope that interested parties will forward their views and comments on the proposal as soon as possible in order that a consensus document can be published in a few months time.

The proposal is available free-to-view online and download at:
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