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Forward for Stem Cell Funding

The US Supreme Court has declined to review Sherley v. Sebelius US Court of Appeals ruling, ending the legal effort to block federally funded research on human embryonic stem cells, reports ScienceInsider.

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins says he was "very pleased" with the decision. "[It] allows the ruling to stand, and enables NIH to continue conducting and funding stem cell research, following the strict ethical guidelines put in place in 2009," he says in a statement. "Patients and their families who look forward to new therapies to replace cells lost by disease or injury, or who may benefit from new drugs identified by screening using stem cells, should be reassured that NIH will continue supporting this promising research."

The suit was brought by James Sherley and Theresa Deishe, both adult stem cell researchers, after the Obama administration issued an executive order in 2009 expanding the human stem cell lines that are eligible for federal funding. Sherley and Deishe argued that NIH violated the Dickey-Wicker amendment that bars it from funding research that destroys embryos, Donald Zuhn at Patent Docs adds.

They received a preliminary injunction in 2010, but that was then vacated by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Zuhn says. The Supreme Court then denied their petition for appeal.