information presented, explored the literature on its own, and contemplated the substance and importance of the preliminary data from recent stem cell experiments. The committee’s deliberations on the issues led to the following conclusions and recommendations.
Experiments in mice and other animals are necessary, but not sufficient, for realizing the potential of stem cells to develop tissue-replacement therapies that will restore lost function in damaged organs. Because of the substantial biological differences between nonhuman animal and human development and between animal and human stem cells, studies with human stem cells are essential to make progress in the development of treatments for human disease, and this research should continue.
There are important biological differences between adult and embryonic stem cells and among adult stem cells found in different types of tissue. The implications of these biological differences for therapeutic uses are not yet clear, and additional data are needed on all stem cell types. Adult stem cells from bone marrow have so far provided most of the examples of successful therapies for replacement of diseased or destroyed cells. Despite the enthusiasm generated by recent reports, the potential of adult stem cells to differentiate fully into other cell types (such as brain, nerve, pancreas cells) is still poorly understood and remains to be clarified. In contrast, studies of human embryonic stem cells have shown that they can develop into multiple tissue types and exhibit long-term self-renewal in culture, features that have not yet been demonstrated with many human adult stem cells. The application of stem cell research to therapies for human disease will require much more knowledge about the biological properties of all types of stem cells. Although stem cell research is on the cutting edge of biological science today, it is still in its infancy. Studies of both embryonic and adult human stem cells will be required to most efficiently advance the scientific and therapeutic potential of regenerative medicine. Moreover, research on embryonic stem cells will be important to inform research on