The news that federally-funded embryonic stem cell researchers have been waiting for has arrived: They can continue to do their work without fear that their funding will be cut off, says the Associated Press' Nedra Pickler. A lawsuit filed last August, which researchers feared would put their work in jeopardy, has been thrown out of court. The lawsuit, filed by two adult stem cell researchers, alleged that the research on human embryonic stem cells being funded by NIH violated the 1996 Dickey-Wicker law, which prohibits the use of federal dollars on any research that harms or destroys a human embryo, Pickler says. The Obama administration — which garnered the praise of stem cell scientists when it increased the number of stem cell lines that could be used in research done with federal money in 2009 — immediately said it would appeal the ruling. The US Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the administration, overturning the injunction on stem cell research, pending the outcome of the appeal. Lawyers for the researchers who brought the suit say they're weighing their options in the face of dismissal, but researchers are breathing a little easier now. "The scientific community applauded the ruling, as did National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins," Pickler says. In a statement to the press, Collins says, "This ruling will help ensure this groundbreaking research can continue to move forward."
Game, Set, Match
Jul 29, 2011