Christopher Thomas Scott, MLA, PhD, is a research staff emeritus at Stanford University and former Director of the Stanford University Program on Stem Cells in Society, faculty and senior research scholar at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, and member of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. He is currently a senior faculty at the Baylor College of Medicine and associate director of Health Policy at the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy. Dr Scott is an associate faculty at University of British Columbia’s National Core on Neuroethics. His academic interests focus on the social, economic, political and ethical dimensions of new biotechnologies. Scott is widely published in high impact journals such as Cell, Cell Stem Cell, Nature Methods, Nature Biotechnology, and the American Journal of Bioethics. His introductory text on stem cell biology, Stem Cell Now (Penguin/Plume) has been translated into four languages. He has taught stem cell biology to undergraduates and directs three Stanford courses on the ethics, policy and law of stem cell research. He is a contributing editor at Nature Biotechnology and serves on the editorial boards of several journals. A former cell biologist, Scott was the Assistant Vice Chancellor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and co-founded Acumen Sciences, a research and consulting company based in San Francisco. He was past President and CEO of The Stem Cell Advisors, a non-profit company providing stem cell research oversight for biotechnology companies. He is one of only a handful of senior officials awarded for their contributions to Stanford’s research enterprise. He is regularly featured in national and local coverage of ethics and policy, including ABC, BBC, NBC, PBS, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Time, U.S. News and World Report, Boston Globe, The Atlantic Monthly, Nightline, UPI, Fox, and NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Talk of the Nation, and TechNation.
Sr Research Scholar, Pediatrics - Center for Biomedical Ethics
Founder, UCSF Center for Bioentrepreneurship, University of California, San Francisco (2000 - 2002)
Institutional Review Board (non voting), Stanford University (1998 - 2000)
Associate Director, Program on Molecular and Genetic Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine (1994 - 1999)
Director, Corporate Development, Stanford University School of Medicine (1994 - 1996)
Associate Director, Beckman Center for Molecular Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine (1992 - 1998)
Director, Research Development, Stanford University Medical Center (1998 - 2000)
Executive Director, ACCESS Clinical Trials, Stanford Medical Center (1996 - 1997)
Assistant Vice Chancellor, University of California, San Francisco (2000 - 2002)
Course Director, Stem Cell Biology, Program in Human Biology (2006 - 2008)
Director, Program on Stem Cells in Society, Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics (2006 - Present)
Stem Cell Research Advisory Panel, Stanford University (2007 - 2009)
Honors & Awards
Research Fellow, University of Sheffield (2008)
Research Fellow, King's College London (2007)
Knight Fellows Favorite Professor Award, Knight Fellows Program, Stanford (2006,2008)
Marsh O'Neill Award (Contributions to Stanford's research enterprise), Stanford University (1999)
Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations
Advisory Committee on Human Subjects Research, PLOS1 (2014 - Present)
Associate Faculty, National Core for Neuroethics, University of British Columbia (2014 - Present)
Member, Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (2010 - Present)
Member, Stanford University Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education (2010 - Present)
Fellow, Stanford Center for Integration of Research on Genetics and Ethics (2009 - Present)
Editorial Board, Stem Cell Reviews and Reports (2008 - Present)
Editorial Board, Cell Stem Cell (2008 - Present)
Contributing Editor, Nature Biotechnology (2007 - Present)
Ethics and Policy Committee, International Society for Stem Cell Reseach (2006 - 2011)
PhD, The University of British Columbia, Policy, Bioethics (2013)
MA, Stanford University, Policy, Bioethics (2005)
BA, Colorado University, Biological Sciences (1978)
Community and International Work
International Society of Stem Cell Research, Boston, MA
Ethics and Public Policy
Cell Stem Cell
Opportunities for Student Involvement
The Stem Cell Advisors, Palo Alto, California
Research Oversight and Public Service
Insitutions, Academia, Biotechnology, Pharmaceutal Companies
Opportunities for Student Involvement
Current Research and Scholarly Interests
The Program on Stem Cells in Society: Areas of Scholarly Concentration
1) Study the political, legal, ethical, technological and economic impacts of stem cell research.
2) Educate undergraduate and graduate students and provide outreach to secondary schools and the general public about stem cell research.
3) Serve as a resource for academicians, public officials and the public on the scientific, legal and ethical impacts of stem cell research.
- Backward by Design: Building ELSI into a Stem Cell Science Curriculum HASTINGS CENTER REPORT 2015; 45 (3): 26-32
The Case for Stem Cell Counselors
STEM CELL REPORTS
2015; 4 (1): 1-6
In this article, Scott describes how a new counseling profession could support clinical sites and patients enrolling in stem cell clinical trials. A possible model is proposed, along with a curriculum that would provide counselors with the tools to address challenges facing the clinical stem cell field. Finally, a candidate recruitment and clinical site interface scheme is offered.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stemcr.2014.10.016
View details for Web of Science ID 000348036800001
View details for PubMedID 25483110
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4297874
Money and morals : ending clinical trials for financial reasons.
Current topics in behavioral neurosciences
2015; 19: 297-315
Too often, biopharmaceutical companies stop their clinical trialsClinical trials solely for financial reasons. In this chapter, we discuss this phenomenon against the backdrop of a 2011 decision by Geron Corporation to abandon its stem cell clinical trial for spinal cord injury (SCI), the preliminary results of which were released in May 2014. We argue that the resultant harms are widespread and are different in nature from the consequences of stopping trials for scientific or medical reasons. We examine the ethical and social effects that arise from such decisions and discuss them in light of ethical frameworks, including duties of individual stakeholders and corporate sponsors. We offer ways that sponsors and clinical sites can ensure that trials are responsibly started, and once started adequately protect the interests of participants. We conclude with recommendations that industry sponsors of clinical trialsClinical trials should adopt in order to advance a collective and patient-centered research ethic.
View details for DOI 10.1007/7854_2014_337
View details for PubMedID 25062706
- The time is ripe for an ethics of entrepreneurship. Nature biotechnology 2014; 32 (4): 316-318
Great expectations: autism spectrum disorder and induced pluripotent stem cell technologies.
Stem cell reviews
2014; 10 (2): 145-150
New applications of iPSC technology to research on complex idiopathic conditions raise several important ethical and social considerations for potential research participants and their families. In this short review, we examine these issues through the lens of emerging research on autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We begin by describing the current state of iPSC technology in research on ASD. Then we discuss how the social history of and current controversies in autism research combined with the emergence of autism-specific iPSC biobanks indicate an urgent need for researchers to clearly communicate the limitations and possibilities of iPSC research to ensure research participants have the ability to provide fully informed, voluntary consent. We conclude by offering recommendations to bolster informed consent for research involving iPSC biobanks, both in the specific context of ASD and more broadly.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s12015-014-9497-0
View details for PubMedID 24488263
- Backwards by Design: Integrating ELSI into a stem cell science curriculum Hastings Center Reports 2014; in press
- Europe's Landmark Decisions on Stem Cell Patents. Hope or mere illusion? American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal 2014; in press
- Wrongful Termination: Lessons from the Geron clinical trial Stem Cells Translational Medicine 2014; in press
Dear student: stem cell scientists' advice to the next generation.
Cell stem cell
2013; 12 (6): 652-655
For the field of pluripotent stem cell biology to realize its promising future, current researchers will need to pass the torch to new generations. We asked a group of successful scientists in this area, "What advice would you give a young person considering a career in stem cell research?"
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2013.05.007
View details for PubMedID 23746974
Position statement on the provision and procurement of human eggs for stem cell research.
Cell stem cell
2013; 12 (3): 285-291
The nature of compensation for women who donate eggs (oocytes) for research remains a contentious issue internationally. This position paper lays out the arguments for, and discusses the arrangements in which, a modest payment might be ethically justifiable.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2013.02.002
View details for PubMedID 23472870
- Fit to Print: Media Accounts of Unproven Medical Treatments Across Time American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research 2013: DOI:10.1080/21507716
The Race Is On: Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Goes Global
STEM CELL REVIEWS AND REPORTS
2012; 8 (4): 1043-1047
More nations are joining the human embryonic stem cell (hESC) "race" by aggressively publishing in the peer-reviewed journals. Here we present data on the international use and distribution of hESC using a dataset taken from the primary research literature. We extracted these papers from a comprehensive dataset of articles using hESC and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC). We find that the rate of publication by US-based authors is slowing in comparison to international labs, and then declines over the final year of the period 2008-2010. Non-US authors published more frequently and at a significantly higher rate, significantly increasing the number of their papers. In addition, international labs use a more diverse set of hESC lines and Obama-era additions are used more in non-US locations. Even considering the flood of new lines in the US and abroad, we see that researchers continue to rely on a few lines derived before the turn of the century. These data suggest "embargo" effects from restrictive policies on the US stem cell field. Over time, non-US labs have freely used lines on the US registries, while federally funded US scientists have been limited to using those lines approved by the NIH.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s12015-012-9391-6
View details for Web of Science ID 000311510600002
View details for PubMedID 22715049
- Personal medicine-the new banking crisis NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2012; 30 (2): 141-147
- Expand and Regularize Federal Funding for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 2012
Democracy Derived? New Trajectories in Pluripotent Stem Cell Research
2011; 145 (6): 820-826
How has the development of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) modified the trajectory of stem cell research? Here, coauthorship networks of stem cell research articles and analysis of cell lines used in stem cell research indicate that hiPSCs are not replacing human embryonic stem cells, but instead, the two cell types are complementary, interdependent research tools. Thus, we conclude that a ban on funding for embryonic stem cell research could have unexpected negative ramifications on the nascent field of hiPSCs.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2011.05.032
View details for Web of Science ID 000291461600009
View details for PubMedID 21663787
- Donation of Embryos for Development and Emryonic Stem Cell Research Cell Stem Cell 2011; 8: 362-364
- The European Court of Justice Ruling in Brüstle v. Greenpeace: The Impacts on Patenting of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells in Europe Cell Stem Cell 2011; 9 (6): 502-503
- Federal policy and the use of pluripotent stem cells NATURE METHODS 2010; 7 (11): 866-867
- Pluripotent patents make prime time: an analysis of the emerging landscape NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2010; 28 (6): 557-559
- Hochschullehrerprivileg-A Modern Incarnation of the Professor's Privilege to Promote University to Industry Technology Transfer SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY 2010; 15 (1): 55-76
- Stem cell research policy and iPS cells NATURE METHODS 2010; 7 (1): 28-33
- The Language of Hope: Therapeutic Intent in Stem Cell Clinical Trials American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research 2010; 1 (3): 4-11
Stem Cell Tourism and the Power of Hope
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BIOETHICS
2010; 10 (5): 16-23
This paper explores the notions of hope and how individual patient autonomy can trump carefully reasoned ethical concerns and policies intended to regulate stem cell transplants. We argue that the same limits of knowledge that inform arguments to restrain and regulate unproven treatments might also undermine our ability to comprehensively dismiss or condemn them. Incautiously or indiscriminately reasoned policies and attitudes may drive critical information and data underground, impel patients away from working with clinical researchers, and tread needlessly on hope, the essential motivator of patients, advocates and researchers alike. We offer recommendations to clinicians and health care providers to help balance the discourse with individuals seeking treatment while guarding against fraud, misconception, and patient harm.
View details for DOI 10.1080/15265161003728860
View details for Web of Science ID 000277751500003
View details for PubMedID 20461637
iPS Cells: Mapping the Policy Issues
2009; 139 (6): 1032-1037
Given the explosion of research on induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, it is timely to consider the various ethical, legal, and social issues engaged by this fast-moving field. Here, we review issues associated with the procurement, basic research, and clinical translation of iPS cells.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2009.11.039
View details for Web of Science ID 000272622800002
View details for PubMedID 20005794
- And then there were two: use of hESC lines NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2009; 27 (8): 696-697
Ethics report on interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer research.
Cell stem cell
2009; 5 (1): 27-30
This report considers whether research involving the creation of human-animal interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer (iSCNT) embryos raises new ethical issues, and if so, whether it requires additional or special criteria and oversight distinct from research on human-animal chimeras.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2009.06.010
View details for PubMedID 19570511
- We must reverse the Bush legacy of stem-cell problems NATURE 2009; 460 (7251): 33-33
- Patenting pluripotence: the next battle for stem cell intellectual property NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2008; 26 (4): 393-395
- Stem Cell Now: A brief introduction to the coming medical revolution Penguin/Plume, New York: ISBN: 0-13-173798-8 2006
Stem cell patents after the america invents act.
Cell stem cell
2015; 16 (5): 461-464
Under the newly passed Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may hear new challenges to stem cell patents. Here, we explore how the new law affects challenges to stem cell patents, focusing on two recent cases, and discuss the future of stem cell patent disputes.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2015.04.015
View details for PubMedID 25957901
Wrongful Termination: Lessons From the Geron Clinical Trial
STEM CELLS TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE
2014; 3 (12): 1398-1401
SUMMARYGeron Corporation is a publically traded company that launched a phase I clinical trial of a human embryonic stem cell-based therapy for spinal cord injury. The company enrolled the first patient in October 2010 and stopped the trial 1 year later. The fifth patient had been enrolled but not transplanted when the company announced the trial's end. After discussions with clinical staff and family, an agreement was reached to add her to the cohort and proceed with the transplant. Two and half years later, the research is still waiting to restart. With this background in mind, we discuss the major ethical and social questions raised by the Geron case. We offer recommendations for institutional review boards and clinical sites as they deliberate approvals of early-phase trials in frontier medicine.
View details for DOI 10.5966/sctm.2014-0147
View details for Web of Science ID 000346460900014
View details for PubMedID 25298371
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4250218
- CASE STUDY Liquid refreshment NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2013; 31 (2): 115-115
- Advantage, Access, and Anticipation: The impact of ethics, policy, law, and economics on stem cell research (Doctoral Dissertation) University of British Columbia 2013; 2429/44700
- EXPAND AND REGULARIZE FEDERAL FUNDING FOR HUMAN PLURIPOTENT STEM CELL RESEARCH JOURNAL OF POLICY ANALYSIS AND MANAGEMENT 2012; 31 (3): 714-722
- DEMOCRACY IS WORKING JOURNAL OF POLICY ANALYSIS AND MANAGEMENT 2012; 31 (3): 726-728
- Democracy Works Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 2012
- Candidates Silence on Science is Troubling DesMoines Register 2012; October (editorial): 9A
- Geron's Quixotic Fate Nature Biotechnology 2012; 30 (6): 2012
- The European Court of Justice Ruling in Brustle v. Greenpeace: The Impacts on Patenting of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells in Europe CELL STEM CELL 2011; 9 (6): 502-503
Donation of Embryos for Human Development and Stem Cell Research
CELL STEM CELL
2011; 8 (4): 360-362
Using donated human embryos for scientific research raises ethical questions about the donation process. We describe a two-stage consent process designed to help couples make informed decisions about embryo disposition. This consent methodology minimizes conflict of interest, respects patient choice, and provides a much-needed resource to patients and the research community.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2011.02.018
View details for Web of Science ID 000289707100007
View details for PubMedID 21474099
- Unsettled expectations: how recent patent decisions affect biotech NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2011; 29 (3): 229-231
- Response to open peer commentaries on "Stem cell tourism and the power of hope". American journal of bioethics 2010; 10 (5): W1-3
- Never again NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2010; 28 (2): 131-131
The Practical Consequences of a National Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry
STEM CELL REVIEWS AND REPORTS
2009; 5 (4): 315-318
The executive order and issuance of federal guidelines for human embryonic stem cell research are positive developments and will produce long-term benefits by creating a new registry for hESC lines. But there may be short-term costs caused by regulatory uncertainty, procedural delay, and knock-on effects as national policies are adopted at state and local jurisdictions. Policymakers must ensure that national mechanisms of oversight for a new hESC registry are adequately funded, properly organized, transparent, and free of bureaucratic detail.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s12015-009-9091-z
View details for Web of Science ID 000273470400002
View details for PubMedID 20058195
- Gilead's deal of a lifetime NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2009; 27 (5): 423-423
- Distribution of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines: Who, When, and Where CELL STEM CELL 2009; 4 (2): 107-110
- Stem cell transplants: the power of peer-to-peer NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2009; 27 (1): 21-22
The stem-cell century a new epoch and fresh challenges.
Perspectives in biology and medicine
2009; 52 (1): 126-133
Stem-cell research is still a prominent part of the political, scientific, and public discourse. Scientific advances are being made at a rapid rate, while debates on the moral status of the embryo continue. In the United States, President George W. Bush has twice vetoed legislation that some maintain would be an improvement over the current funding environment; others argue the solution is not optimal for thoroughly exploiting the potential of this exciting new area of research. In addition, we face a number of additional policy and legal challenges, including such issues as intellectual property, oocyte procurement, and informed consent of egg donors. We review Russell Korobkin's Stem Cell Century in the context of recent additions to the literature on stem-cell research and policy.
View details for PubMedID 19271348
The road to pluripotence: the research response to the embryonic stem cell debate
HUMAN MOLECULAR GENETICS
2008; 17: R3-R9
The controversies surrounding embryonic stem cell research have prompted scientists to invent beyond restrictive national policy and moral concerns. The impetus behind these reports comes from different sources, including individually held moral beliefs, societal pressures and resource constraints, both biological and financial. Along with other contributions to public policy such as advocacy or public testimony, experimentation and scientific curiosity are perhaps more natural responses scientists use to surmount impediments to research. In a research context, we review the history of the first stem cell discoveries, and describe scientific efforts leading up to recent reports of pluripotent lines made without the use of human embryos and eggs. We argue that despite the promise of these new lines, we must not lose sight of fundamental questions remaining at the frontiers of embryology and early human development. The answers to these questions will impact studies of genetics, cell biology and diseases such as cancer, autoimmunity and disorders of development. Human embryonic stem cell research is barely a decade old. The recent pace of discovery--in spite of federal restrictions--is testament to the potential of these cells to uncover some of biology's most intractable mysteries.
View details for DOI 10.1093/hmg/ddn074
View details for Web of Science ID 000258261600002
View details for PubMedID 18632694
Stem cells: new frontiers of ethics, law, and policy
2008; 24 (3-4)
After the successful isolation of human embryonic stem cells in 1998, ethics and policy debates centered on the moral status of the embryo-whether the 2- to 4-day-old blastocyst is a person, and whether we should protect it at all costs. As the research has moved quickly forward, however, new questions have emerged for the study of stem cell ethics, law, and policy. Powerful new lines made without eggs or embryos have recently been reported, the intellectual property and regulatory environment is uncertain, and clinical trials using adult stem cells and cells derived from embryonic stem cells are about to commence. The new landscape of ethics, law, and policy is discussed in the context of these developments, with an emphasis on the evaluation of risks and benefits for first-in-human clinical studies.
View details for DOI 10.3171/FOC/2008/24/3-4/E23
View details for Web of Science ID 000256374100024
View details for PubMedID 18341401
- What Stem Cell Therapy Can Learn From Gene Therapy. Nature Reports Stem Cells (DOI: 10.1038/stemcells.2008.123) 2008
- Weighing Risks and Rewards en route to the Clinic Nature Reports Stem Cells (DOI: 10.1038/stemcells.2008.158) 2008
- Cloning ?From Assisted Reproduction to Stem Cells: The Hastings Center Bioethics Briefing Book 2008: 24-29
Challenges to human embryonic stem cell patents
CELL STEM CELL
2008; 2 (1): 13-17
The patenting of human embryonic stem (hES) cells has produced one of the most unusual and fraught situations in the history of science, ethics, and law. This Commentary examines legal and moral challenges to three foundational patents held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). We conclude that, in the United States, technical challenges may, paradoxically, produce a stronger patent position for WARF. In the European Union, moral challenges mean confusion for member states. We demonstrate that hES cell intellectual property will be guided and bound by a welter of moral, technical, and legal inputs, with discrete national and jurisdictional dimensions.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2007.12.006
View details for Web of Science ID 000252606400007
View details for PubMedID 18371416
- Mice with a human touch NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2007; 25 (10): 1075-1077
- Overhauling clinical trials NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2007; 25 (3): 287-292
- Private Stem Cell Bank is a Poor Investment San Francisco Chronicle 2007; August 31 (op/ed)
- State Stem Cell Program Facing Tough Times Ahead Sacramento Bee 2007; August 31 (op/ed)
- Splitting the Difference Science and Spirit 2007; 18 (2): 38-41
- Chimeras in the crosshairs NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2006; 24 (5): 487-490
- The paths around stem cell intellectual property NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2006; 24 (4): 411-414
- Falling Behind on Stem Cell Research Boston Globe 2006; op/ed (April 28)
- Patient advocacy encourages stem-cell research San Jose Mercury News 2006; August 8
- It is Better to Give The New Scientist 2006; 25 (2531): 25
- The Future of Medicine Old Trout 2006; 1 (3): 21
- The problem with potency NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2005; 23 (9): 1037-1039
- The zinc finger nuclease monopoly NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2005; 23 (8): 915-918
- Chasing a cellular fountain of youth NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY 2005; 23 (7): 807-815
- Stand by Science Edutopia 2005; 1 (4): 52-54
- Trials of the Heart: Hematopoeitic Stem Cells Enter the Clinic The Scientist 2005; July 4: 20-21
- Stem Cell Hub to Link Three Continents Nat Biotechnol 2005; 23 (1129): 1129