Research Policy and Compliance
Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Harvard University is committed to supporting and advancing human embryonic stem cell research and ensuring that researchers adhere to all federal laws, including the Dickey-Wicker amendment, as well as all federal regulations and guidelines regarding the use of federal funds.
Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight (ESCRO) Committee
The Harvard University Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight (ESCRO) Committee performs ethical and scientific reviews of all research within its domain. The ESCRO’s primary focus is on embryos and human embryonic stem cells (hESC); however, it also covers certain activities with non-embryonic human pluripotent stem cells, human neural stem cells, and human gametes. Its scope includes use of anonymous materials that may not require consideration by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). Use that is limited to teratoma formation to test for pluripotency does not require ESCRO review.
Review and approval by the ESCRO Committee is required regardless of the source of funding or the applicability of state or federal law. This approval is required in addition to other approvals that may be required by law or institutional policy, including, but not limited to, approvals by Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs), or Institutional Biosafety Committees (at Harvard, the Committee on Microbiological Safety). The ESCRO Committee shall have final approval, and its approval will be contingent on the satisfaction of all other approvals required. No University official has the authority to approve under the ESCRO Committee's oversight that has not been approved by the Committee.
For more information, please visit the ESCRO Committee's website at escro.harvard.edu.