Stem Cell Field Shocker: Coalition for Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR) to Dissolve

The Board of Directors of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR) announced today that they have voted to dissolve the organization.

CAMR is effectively at an end.

The CAMR Board has decided, as described in an email, to “transfer its mission and its resources to an outstanding colleague organization, the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM).”

camr-logo

The press release (PR) from CAMR does not clearly articulate a specific reason for dissolving itself.

In the PR, CAMR president Amy Comstock Rick, J.D, is quoted as follows:

“Human embryonic stem cell research has grown and evolved to a point where it’s time for CAMR to hand off its mission to an organization that can advance policy initiatives to support where the science is now, and where it is headed”

I plan to comment on my thoughts on this development in a blog post later in the week.

This is a big shock for the stem cell field that such a wonderful and still highly relevant organization such as CAMR, after more than a decade of extremely important accomplishments for medical research and stem cells, would choose this particular time to put an end to itself. Another important question is how this event will impact ARM and its mission.

Michael Werner, J.D., executive director of ARM, says in the PR:

“In Washington, D.C., and around the world, researchers and policymakers alike have CAMR leadership and its members to thank for the federal funding guidelines that have helped foster an environment for advances in stem cell research in the past 12 years…We are honored to take on CAMR’s mission, meld it with our own, and continue to support the great science that is already contributing to live-giving advances in regenerative medicine.” 

I’d value the reaction of readers to this startling development. Please comment.

6 thoughts on “Stem Cell Field Shocker: Coalition for Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR) to Dissolve

  1. Pingback: Bombshell today as CAMR, a great friend to hESC research, decides to dissolve itself. What the heck?


  2. Interesting news and timing. Hopefully we learn more about what led to this decision.

    Q: What, if any, involvement did CAMR have in shaping the NIH’s definition of human embryonic stem cells as it relates to funding?

    Better yet, who (or what organization) advised the NIH in 2009 to purposefully exclude blastomere-derived human embryonic stem cell lines from federal funding?

    The current NIH definition of embryo hinges on the term “blastocyst” – an embryo of more than 100 cells (see Nature 471, 279-279 doi:10.1038/471279a). The single-cell blastomere technique involves the isolation of a single cell from a 4-to-8 cell embryo, utilizing a one-cell biopsy approach similar to that used in pre-implantation genetic diagnostics (PGD). This single-cell biopsy is performed routinely around the world, and close to two thousand children are born every year in the US and Europe via in vitro fertilization using this technique. The “blastomere” technique has been documented in Nature magazine, Cell Stem Cell, and elsewhere.

    So why does the NIH’s current definition limit funding to embryonic stem cells derived only from the inner cell mass of blastocyst stage human embryos?

    On February 19, 2010 the NIH publicly acknowledged the problem with its original definition, admitting, “This definition had the unintended consequence of excluding certain hESCs which may otherwise be appropriate for Federal funding.”

    But since then nothing has changed. In fact, there are a number of pending single-blastomere derived cell lines in the NIH registry awaiting approval from as far back as 2009.

    Aside from the ethical advantages, there is also considerable interest in using these cell lines with respect to their characteristics. Being derived from a point of earlier developmental potential, these single blastomere-derived ES cells have broad plasticity and are ideally suited for use in the development and commercialization of regenerative medicine therapies.

    As it stands today, hundreds of NIH funded laboratories involved in cell therapy research have no access to the only FDA-approved and embryo-safe clinical grade stem cell lines for treating significant diseases.

    ARM’s mission statement says the following:

    “The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) is a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization that promotes legislative, regulatory, reimbursement, and financing initiatives necessary to facilitate access to life-giving advances in regenerative medicine. ARM also works to increase public understanding of the field and its potential to transform human healthcare, and provides services to support the growth of its member companies and organizations.”

    So where has the leadership from organizations like CAMR and ARM been on this critical issue?

    For over three years, the court case of Sherley v. Sebelius was all that seemed to stand in the way of the NIH issuing revised guidelines. In January of this year, the Supreme Court put an end to the long-standing and meritless lawsuit. And sadly, here we are today, still with no word whatsoever from the NIH on the proposed “technical change” to the guidelines.

    This is not just a question for stem cell researchers; this is a question for all of us.


  3. I think we should understand that Alliance for RegMed is growing. Having multiple RegMed flags is confusing and not cost effective where all of these organizations depend on donations. Donations have dropped off considerably since Obama was elected, due to the fact many think the “war” for hESC research was won! But they are sadly mistaken, the SCRA of 2009/2010/2011/2012 and etc never passed. Any combining of forces is a logical step.

  4. Pingback: News – Stem Cell Field Shocker: Coalition for Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR) to Dissolve (Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog) | Stu's Stem Cell Blog


  5. Appointing an evangelical to head our most important scientific research has the future of our country in peril.Director Collins has been reviewing public comment (most quite supportive) for 2 going on 3 years.It was called a 30 day review.Evangelicals are also in charge of congressional commitees pertaining to the same thing,obstruction.
    NED lines pretty much undermine the mythologist arguments against HESC’s while also being a bettter source for cells.In case Mr. Collins is unaware,NED stands for no embryo destruction.It also means no more controversy.
    Call it the Bush legacy or call it what it always has been,obstruction.
    This technology changes everything from daily drug administration (quite lucrative) to actual treatments and just maybe cures.Mr. Collins can end the trumped up controversy but chooses not to.
    If he can’t bring himself to decide he should resign and let the next director embrace a much brighter future for medicine.No one government official should be able to hold our increasingly bright scientific future hostage.
    It’s time to make up your mind Mr. Collins.Like yesterday!!!!!


  6. This seems like a reasonable merger to me, likely adding to the efficacy and efficency of both organizations. Keep us posted on how it goes. Thanks.

Comments are closed.