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Stem Cells International
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 498132, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/498132
Review Article

From Banking to International Governance: Fostering Innovation in Stem Cell Research

Centre of Genomics and Policy, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1A1

Received 24 March 2011; Accepted 7 June 2011

Academic Editor: Su-Chun Zhang

Copyright © 2011 Rosario Isasi and Bartha M. Knoppers. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Stem cell banks are increasingly recognized as an essential resource of biological materials for both basic and translational stem cell research. By providing transnational access to quality controlled and ethically sourced stem cell lines, stem cell banks seek to foster international collaboration and innovation. However, given that national stem cell banks operate under different policy, regulatory and commercial frameworks, the transnational sharing of stem cell materials and data can be complicating. This paper will provide an overview of the most pressing challenges regarding the governance of stem cell banks, and the difficulties in designing regulatory and commercial frameworks that foster stem cell research. Moreover, the paper will shed light on the numerous international initiatives that have arisen to help harmonize and standardize stem cell banking and research processes to overcome such challenges.