The federal government can continue funding of embryonic stem cell research, a U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington has ruled, while the Obama Administration appeals a ruling in Sherley v. Sebelius in which a lower court judge ordered a temporary halt to the funding of this type of research. The lawsuit was filed by two scientists who study adult stem cells who argued that the administration’s stem cell research policy violates a congressional ban on research that harms human embryos.
A federal appeals court earlier this month temporarily lifted the injunction to give the administration the opportunity to argue that even a temporary halt to the research could set back promising science. The Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, of which ASRM is a founding member, filed an amicus brief in this case, maintaining that NIH guidelines are clear that federal funds can be used to investigate cells and tissues created from human embryonic stem cells, but not to create them. Moreover, the guidelines set forth rigorous ethical standards under which federally funded human embryonic stem cell research can be conducted.
While the latest ruling is welcome news, the future of government-funded embryonic stem cell research is far from fully resolved. The Court of Appeals still must hear the appeal of the preliminary injunction and the case is due to go back to the lower court for a decision on the merits.
Visit us at www.acfs2000.com to learn more.