TCPS 2: Update on Cell Lines

Ottawa, Ontario, September 14, 2018

Canada's research community posed the question: "Is REB review of research involving the use of non-identifiable, ethically-sourced human cells necessary?"

In order to provide a comprehensive response, the Panel on Research Ethics sought the views of experts by creating the Cell Line Advisory Subcommittee (CLAS). It included cell scientists, ethicists, representation from the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities (U15), the Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards (CAREB), and the Stem Cell Oversight Committee (SCOC), as well as members of the Panel.

In June 2017, CLAS recommended to the Panel that TCPS provide an exemption from REB review when cells or cell lines are non-identifiable and have ethical provenance.

From October 2017 to January 2018, the Panel sought public comment on the proposed changes. The public supported simplifying the review process, but expressed concerns about the ethical and practical basis for the proposed exemption. The Panel therefore decided to reassess the proposed exemption and consider alternate approaches to ensuring the ethical acceptability of research involving human cells.

The Panel's next steps are to:

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