February 27, 2024

Fate of stem cell funding still up in the air

New ruling allows funding temporarily

Although a three-judge appeals court has
lifted a US injunction on human embryonic stem cell funding, scientists are
still feeling queasy. On August 23 District Judge Royce C. Lamberth, declared
that federal funding violated the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, a federal law that bans
grants for research which involves the destruction of human embryos. This week,
the appeals court lifted the injunction to study the case more carefully. But
there is no guarantee whatsoever that the Judge Lamberth’s decision will be

The next date in this nerve-racking
on-off-on-off story is September 14, when opponents of the funding have to file
a response.

The National Institutes of Health and the
Justice Department are struggling to keep this keep stem cell research afloat
for what they describe as “important, life-saving research” afloat. Scientists
who are working with stem cell lines derived from embryos stand to lose funding
and jobs if the injunction is maintained and warn that
researchers and expertise will drift overseas

Keeping scientists out of dole queues,
however, is low on the agenda of embryo research opponents. “The American
people should not be forced to pay for even one more day of experiments that
destroy human life, have produced no real-world treatments and violate an
existing federal law,” said Steven H. Aden, a lawyer at the Alliance
Defense Fund, which filed the lawsuit. “The district court’s decision
simply enforced that law, which prevents Americans from paying another penny
for needless research on human embryos made irrelevant by adult stem cell and
other research.” ~ Washington
Post, Sept 10

Michael Cook
stem cells