CCRM implements ethics unit to promote responsible research

CCRM is introducing a CGP-led ethics unit to promote more responsible research. Photo courtesy of CCRM.
CCRM is introducing a CGP-led ethics unit to promote more responsible research. Photo courtesy of CCRM.

In an effort to address ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) as part of its activities to develop new regenerative medicine (RM) products for, and with, academia and industry that will fill specific gaps in the product development pathway, the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) is adding an ethics unit to its core offerings to be at the forefront of responsible governance. Effective immediately, CCRM is working with McGill University’s Centre of Genomics and Policy.

“CCRM has progressed to the point where ELSI now comes into play as we require a variety of policies, forms and agreements to responsibly advance our output towards commercialization,” said Michael May, CEO of CCRM. “McGill’s Centre of Genomics and Policy (CGP) has been our partner from the outset, but now we’re ready to set the wheels in motion and implement an ethics unit. We also anticipate that creating these documents will set standards that will be adopted by our industry partners and the wider community.

“CGP has a philosophy of collaborative, multidisciplinary policymaking through an international lens, which aligns perfectly with CCRM’s mandate to be a global nexus for technology development and commercialization.”

CCRM has three development platforms – cell reprogramming and engineering, cell manufacturing, and biomaterials and devices – that will all require input from CGP staff. For example, a key activity of the cell reprogramming and engineering platform is to generate and bank patient and disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) for research and commercial purposes on a fee-for-service basis. There are many ethical, legal and social issues at play that will require guidance and expertise from CGP to ensure CCRM has considered all of the ELSI implications associated with this work.

“Cognizant of the policy issues surrounding regenerative medicine and of the responsibility that comes with Canadian leadership on the international landscape, the CGP will contribute its socio-ethical and legal expertise so as to promote informed and principled policymaking using multidisciplinary expertise,” said Dr. Bartha Maria Knoppers, director of McGill’s Centre of Genomics and Policy, and Canada research chair in law and medicine.

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