Federally-funded embryonic stem cell research may proceed

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In a victory for embryonic stem cell (ESC) researchers, a U.S. appeals court has ruled that the Obama administration may continue to federally fund ESC studies using embryos that would otherwise be discarded. The story began in late August when U.S. District Judge Royce Lambeth ruled in favor of two adult stem cell scientists who sued the NIH, arguing that federal funding of ESC research would violate U.S. law by destroying embryos, and would unfairly disadvantage adult stem cell researchers vying for funding from the same pool. Judge Lamberth’s ruling, however, was overturned Friday in a 2-to-1 vote by a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, in which the majority opinion argued that the U.S. law was “ambiguous [and] did not prohibit funding a research project in which ESCs will be used.”

ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross welcomes the good news. “ACSH is very much in favor of stem cell research, including both adult and embryonic stem cell research, which has the potential of generating groundbreaking medical treatments, such as customized organ transplants and treatments for devastating neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. The fact that the researchers who brought on this case are mainly driven by funding fears is absurd and unnecessarily obstructive to life-saving research.”