BEIJING, March 22 (Xinhua) -- China has issued six new standards for the research and application of stem cells to ensure biosafety and ethical standards.
Released by the Chinese Society for Cell Biology, they concern six types of stem cells, including human mesenchymal stem cells, human retinal pigment epithelial cells, and human heart muscle cells. The standards specify the biological characteristics, production process, packaging and labeling, storage, and transportation of the stem cells.
Stem cells can develop into various functional cells and can participate in cell substitution and tissue regeneration. The clinical research and application of stem cells have brought new hope to the treatment of several diseases. These include Parkinson's disease and premature ovarian failure.
According to Ji Weizhi from the Kunming University of Science and Technology, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the theory and technologies of stem cells are still developing. He added that the standards would continue to be fine-tuned.
"The newly released standards will provide a reference for stem cell research and application," Ji said.
Wu Zhaohui from the China Medicinal Biotech Association said the standards provide the basis for filing and reviewing the clinical research of these six types of stem cells.
Experts also expressed concern regarding ethical issues related to stem cells. Peng Yaojin, a researcher from the Institute of Zoology under the CAS, said the development of biological sample banks should pay special attention to ethical issues such as informed consent and privacy protection.
China is taking the lead in developing international standards for stem cells and will accelerate the release of international standards in the future, said Zhang Yong from the International Organization for Standardization. Enditem