The application of Principles-Based Regulation (PBR) to stem cell (SC) research has been adopted with little apparent controversy. However, this was the form of regulation being used in the financial sector leading up to the current financial crisis, giving rise to questions about its ability to regulate fast-moving areas effectively. This article will explore whether PBR is an appropriate form of regulation for SC research.1 It will conclude that PBR is well-suited to this area, being reflective and facilitative of the process of scientific innovation. However, lessons must be learned from the financial sector about how to apply it effectively. © 2011 A B Academic Publishers.