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Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight (ESCRO)

Human Embryonic Stem Cell (hESC) research involves many ethical, legal, scientific, and policy issues that are of concern to the public. As such, it is essential to promote responsible practices in the conduct of hESC research. Various groups have developed guidelines for hESC research to advance the science in a responsible manner, including the National Academies of Sciences (NAS), and the International Society of Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). These organizations recommended that research institutions should create special review bodies to oversee this emerging field of research, with the intention of providing a critical level of review and scrutiny warranted by the complex issues raised by hESC research.

In order to ensure adherence to ethical and legal principles of hESC research, Yale University has established an Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight (ESCRO) Committee as recommended by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies' 2005 Guidelines for hESC Research. ESCRO members are appointed by and serve as advisors to the Office of the Provost. The membership of the ESCRO reflects the scientific, medical, and ethical expertise necessary to perform the aforementioned responsibilities, and includes members of the Yale community (faculty, staff and/or students), as well as outside members, at the election of the Provost.

In addition, the University is committed to ensuring that the Federal government's current prohibitions against direct or indirect use of Federal funds for research on Non-Registry hESC Lines are fully observed. Link to Special Procedures for hESC Research Financial Tracking (in development).

Charge of the ESCRO Committee

  • To provide scientific, medical and ethical review of proposed hESC Research, regardless of whether the proposed research also requires consideration by an IRB;
  • To provide a focal point for campus consideration of all issues related to derivation and research use of hESC lines;
  • To facilitate education of investigators in the ethical, legal, and policy issues involved in hESC Research, including setting minimum educational requirements as prerequisites for conducting hESC Research;
  • To assist investigators in assessing which regulations apply to proposed hESC Research activities;
  • To ensure that the provenance of hESCs is documented, and that there was IRB approval of the procurement process in order to ensure adherence to the basic ethical and legal principles of informed consent and protection of confidentiality;
  • To establish and maintain a registry of Yale hESC Research, including documentation of key personnel, descriptive information about the types of research being performed, and the hESCs in use;
  • To review evolving regulations and guidance and make recommendations to update University policy accordingly; and
  • To ensure that all applicable hESC regulatory requirements are met and that hESC Research is conducted in accordance with the highest ethical standards.

You may find the Policy for the Review of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research at Yale on the Provost’s Web site.

Oversight Committee Schedule

The ESCRO Committee is scheduled to meet at 4:30 p.m. on the 4th Tuesday of the following months:

  • January
  • April
  • July
  • October

Ad hoc meetings may be scheduled. Meetings may be canceled due to a lack of agenda items.


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