Objective: To examine important ethical and societal issues relating to the use of progenitor-cell-based strategies for disease prevention, particularly atherosclerosis.
Background: Several nascent lines of evidence suggest the feasibility of using progenitor cells to reverse the health consequence of atherosclerosis. Such potential uses of progenitor cells are scientifically exciting, yet they raise important ethical and societal issues.
Method: The Working Group on Ethics of Progenitor Cell-based Strategies for Disease Prevention met to discuss the relevant issues. Several drafts of a report were then circulated to the entire Working Group for comments until a consensus was reached.
Results: Scientific evidence suggests the appropriateness of using progenitor-cell-based strategies for some rare conditions involving atherosclerosis, but additional preclinical data are needed for other, more prevalent conditions before human trials begin. All such trials raise a set of ethical issues, especially since trials aimed at prevention rather than treatment may involve persons who do not yet have disease but will be exposed to the risks of interventions. In addition, enrolment in prevention trials may be hazardous and harmful if participants erroneously believe experimental interventions will necessarily prevent disease. Finally, given the high prevalence of atherosclerosis, there are some important public policy implications of taking such an approach to prevention, including the sources of progenitor cells for such interventions as well as the allocation of health resources.
Conclusion: Potential uses of progenitor-cell-based strategies for preventing atherosclerosis must be considered in the context of a range of social and ethical issues.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Read the full text or download the PDF:
Other content recommended for you
- Are hybrid umbilical cord blood banks really the best of both worlds?
- Establishing the role of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis with human leucocyte antigen typing: what place do “saviour siblings” have in paediatric transplantation?
- NHS maternity units should not encourage commercial banking of umbilical cord blood
- Status of umbilical cord blood transplantation in the year 2001
- Ethical and legal aspects of stem cell practices in Turkey: where are we?
- Public-private partnership in cord blood banking
- Stem cell stories: from bedside to bench
- World's first public-private cord blood bank launched in UK
- Wait a minute? An observational cohort study comparing iron stores in healthy Swedish infants at 4 months of age after 10-, 60- and 180-second umbilical cord clamping
- World's first public-private cord blood bank launched in United Kingdom