Fate of stem cell funding still up in the air


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 reversed.

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




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