Stem cell research

Stem cell research has the potential to provide treatments for a host of debilitating diseases, but at the same time raises ethical and social issues and legal concerns of interest to Canadians.


In response to rapidly evolving science and shifting public opinion, and to ensure ethical and scientific oversight, CIHR developed the Archived - Guidelines for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research in 2003. In December 2014, the CIHR Guidelines were integrated into the 2nd edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2), Chapter 12, section F. TCPS 2 (2014) replaces TCPS 2 (2010) as the official human research ethics policy of the agencies. It responds to the goal of making TCPS 2 (2014) the single CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC policy for the ethics of research involving humans. Please consult the Panel on Research Ethics website for additional information about the integration of the guidelines into TCPS 2 (2014). To help clarify the integration of the CIHR Guidelines into the TCPS 2 please consult the Frequently Asked Questions.

Stem Cell Oversight Committee (SCOC)

A stem cell oversight committee (SCOC) was created by CIHR in 2003. SCOC reviews all research involving human pluripotent stem cells that have been derived from an embryonic source and/or will be transferred into humans or non-human animals to ensure compliance with Chapter 12, Section F, of the TCPS 2 (2014).

Over the years, SCOC has produced a series of reference documents to help researchers determine whether their proposals need to be reviewed, and if so, how to submit them. SCOC also maintains a list of human embryonic stem cell lines derived under the auspices of Institutions eligible to receive Agency funds (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC).


The policy highlight and frequently asked questions are currently being reviewed and updated to reflect the integration of the CIHR Guidelines into TCPS 2 (2014).