NIH wants public comment on the proposed scope of the chimera research to be considered by the NIH steering committee. The committee will focus on the experimental design and likely nature of the chimeric animal model. The committee’s work will be independent of the peer review process. This committee will also monitor new developments in this field and provide analysis and advice to NIH leadership as needed.

NIH is also seeking comment on modifications to the NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research where the agency proposes to expand slightly the current prohibition on the introduction of human pluripotent cells into nonhuman primate embryos to include the preblastocyst stage, and to clarify that NIH will not fund research involving the breeding of animals where the introduction of any type of human cell may result in human egg or sperm development.

NIH officials say these actions are consistent with recently updated guidelines from the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), which suggest that a specialized review of certain types of chimera research is appropriate. The ISSCR guidelines also contain useful suggestions of best practices for experimental design, which the research community is encouraged to consider, according to an NIH spokesperson.

Public comments regarding the NIH proposal can be made at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/rfi/rfi.cfm?ID=57.