News Release

Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative back ISSCR Global Standards Initiative

Business Announcement

International Society for Stem Cell Research

The ISSCR is pleased to announce partnerships with Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF), Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) and the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) to support a new global initiative to develop standards for human stem cell use in research. The financial support signifies the importance of stem cell research and its potential for improving human health.

“We are thrilled to partner with three incredible philanthropic organizations to bring international standards to the field,” said Haifan Lin, ISSCR President. “This is an ambitious and highly collaborative project, one in which the ISSCR is uniquely positioned to lead.”

“The society is grateful to the BWF, DDCF, and SFARI for making this work possible. Each recognizes the value of establishing international standards and shares the ISSCR vision for improving the future of human health through basic research,” Keith Alm, ISSCR CEO, said.

Standards set researchers up for success, enhance rigor in preclinical research, and ultimately strengthen the pipeline of therapies for patients. The ISSCR is the preeminent international stem cell research society with a reputation for scientific and ethical rigor. The ISSCR initiative is led by an international task force of scientists chaired by Tenneille Ludwig, WiCell, USA and Peter Andrews, University of Sheffield, UK. The effort builds on previous work to improve the reproducibility of research using pluripotent stem cells from the International Stem Cell Initiative (ISCI) and the International Stem Cell Banking Initiative (ISBCI) and also addresses tissue stem cells with the overall goal of improving reproducibility of experiments from lab to lab and from cell line to cell line.

“The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is so pleased to support this critical initiative for the future of stem cell biology,” Louis J. Muglia, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO, Burroughs Wellcome Fund said.

“Stem cell research is a critical component of the development of treatments and therapies for a wide range of diseases,” said Sindy Escobar Alvarez, director of medical research at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “We are proud to support the ISSCR in advancing a set of international standards for the use of human stem cells in the research process, which will ultimately create more consistent and scalable experiments and lead to better outcomes for patients.“

“The establishment of shared, rigorous standards is essential to realizing the incredible promise of human stem cell research in providing insights into human biology and ultimately developing effective therapies,” said Kelsey C. Martin, M.D., Ph.D., director, Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI), Simons Foundation Neuroscience Collaborations.

The ISSCR Standards for Human Stem Cell Use in Research will be released in the first half of 2023. In the meantime, learn more by registering for the ISSCR’s open-access webinar on 17 January 2023 where the scientific community will have an opportunity to learn more, ask questions, and share feedback about the proposed recommendations.

About the International Society for Stem Cell Research (
With more than 4,600 members from 80 countries worldwide, the International Society for Stem Cell Research is the preeminent global, cross-disciplinary, science-based organization dedicated to stem cell research and its translation to the clinic. The ISSCR mission is to promote excellence in stem cell science and applications to human health. Additional information about stem cell science is available at A Closer Look at Stem Cells, an initiative of the Society to inform the public about stem cell research and its potential to improve human health.

About Burroughs Wellcome Fund
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) serves and strengthens society by nurturing a diverse group of leaders in biomedical sciences to improve human health through education and powering discovery in frontiers of greatest need. BWF was founded in 1955 as the corporate foundation of the pharmaceutical firm Burroughs Wellcome Co. In 1993, a generous gift from the Wellcome Trust in the United Kingdom, enabled BWF to become fully independent from the company, which was acquired by Glaxo in 1995.

About Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, child well-being and medical research, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The foundation’s Medical Research Program supports clinical research that advances the translation of biomedical discoveries into new preventions, diagnoses and treatments for human diseases. To learn more about the program, visit

Launched in 2006, SFARI is a scientific initiative within the Simons Foundation’s suite of programs. SFARI’s mission is to improve the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders by funding innovative research of the highest quality and relevance.

In 2007, SFARI issued its first request for applications, its goal being to attract top researchers to the field of autism research. Today, with a budget of over $100 million per year, SFARI supports over 300 investigators. Since 2003, the Simons Foundation has provided or committed more than $725 million in external research support to more than 700 investigators in the U.S. and abroad.


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