A recent article suggests that NIH should perhaps adopt more stringent regulations on the embryonic stem cell communities modeled after UK. In the UK an independent regulatory agcency has oversight covering both private and academic research entities that work on human embryonic stem cell technologies. In the United States, NIH only provides "guidelines" not regulations for academic research. Private companies are not under any jurisdiction or guidelines and essentially are running wild and out of control resulting in public health and safety problems (not to mention octuplets).
Exerpts from the article:
"Officials at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be kept busy for the next four months as they craft new guidelines specifying which embryonic stem (ES) cell research will now qualify for federal funding. But that hasn't stopped the first rumblings of a fight over what the country's regulatory framework might eventually look like."
"Ruth Macklin, a professor of bioethics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, is among those who support a regulatory agency patterned after the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, in existence since 1990. The HFEA oversees the creation, storage and use of embryos for research, and regulates fertility clinics. Beyond laying out enforceable rules for ES cell science in the United States, she says, a similar scheme would bring order to the largely unregulated in vitro fertilization (IVF) industry."
From New stem cell regulations: By whose authority?by Bryn Nelson, Nature Reports Stem CellsMarch 19th, 2009