Tuesday, August 25, 2009

From Nature: Japan relaxes human stem-cell rules

I writing a short commentary on the new rules concerning human embryonic stem (ES) cells. I found this editorial published in Nature very interesting and I wanted to share. The field of research with Domestic regulation of human embryonic stem cell is very much an international one. Japan's new rules follow the new rules adopted by the NIH a few weeks ago in the USA. Domestic policy matters outside the boudaries of that nation, as the editorial suggests. It's also interesting to note that Japan had allocated most of its money for stem cell research to finance reseach with induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells (cells that are produced from normal adult cells and can be reprogrammed in any human cell, thus been akin to ES cells). IPS cells were created for the first time in Japan, in Kyoto. National pride certainly plays a role in Japan's early decision to fund more IPS cell research than ES cell research. The lesson is simple: biomedical research is an international enteprise in which national interests still matter greatly.