2016 research profile: Regulating the Future

Regulating the Future: Model Policies for Emerging Stem Cell Research Activities, including Research on Gene-Edited and Reconstituted Embryos
PI: Ubaka Ogbogu, University of Alberta

It’s been 12 years since Canada passed legislation governing research on human embryos. As it stands, the legislation has not kept pace with the science. Two areas not covered by the legislation andcxk2qw2vqaaekcm-jpg-large posing pressing questions about their legality and how they fit into current governance frameworks, for instance, are the creation and use of genetically modified human embryos for research purposes and the patterning of human-induced pluripotent stem cells in a manner that may resemble post-implantation embryos.

Ubaka Ogbogu of the University of Alberta is assessing whether Canada’s regulatory framework adequately and appropriately addresses and balances the promotion of scientific and clinical progress with other key policy imperatives. His work will answer two key questions: how, if at all, should Canadian regulations regarding embryo and related research be updated to reflect current research realities and scientific advances; and what specific rules and governance mechanisms are needed to ensure the ethical conduct of embryo-based research activities? Dr. Ogbogu will bring together a multi-disciplinary policy workshop to develop a consensus-based model policy and governance framework together with policy briefing notes for specific audiences, including legislators, media and the public.

This research will contribute to much-needed national and international consideration of pressing issues in stem cell research that are currently testing the boundaries of Canada’s legal and policy framework. The end result will provide guidance to policy makers as they grapple with these complex issues.

Ubaka Ogbogu’s research project is part of The Impact Research Agreement Program which will provide $1.54M for 17 projects that span clinical translation, commercialization and public policy.  A total of 27 investigators (17 Principal Investigators & 10 Co-investigators) at 15 research institutions will benefit and more than 60 trainees will be engaged. Diseases such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, and kidney disease will all be studied. Commercialization topics include 3D printing of neural tissues, and the scalable production of engineered micro tissues.

For more information on the Stem Cell Network’s 2016 research funding results click here