Ever since the isolation and culturing of human pluripotent stem cells in 1998, the debate has intensified regarding legal, ethical, and social ramifications associated with research use of these cells that are capable of developing into many different specialized tissues.1, 2 In order for the National Institutes of Health to clarify its position on research with these cells, in January 1999, it placed a moratorium on use of human pluripotent stem cells derived from embryos and fetal tissue in federally funded research. After receipt and review of about 50,000 public comments, NIH lifted this moratorium by issuing the "National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Research Using Human Pluripotent Stem Cells".3

In the guidelines, effective August 25, NIH states it believes that potential benefits of human pluripotent stem cell technology are worthy of pursuit and, thus, it is allowing research use of these cells. "The purpose of the NIH...

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