NIH issued draft guidances on Friday regarding federal funding of research on human embryonic stem cells. The guidelines "allow funding for research using human embryonic stem cells that were derived from embryos created by in vitro fertilization for reproductive purposes and were no longer needed for that purpose." According to the Washington Post, Acting NIH Director Raynard Kington said, "This will be a great expansion of the opportunities because of the many more lines we'll be able to use."
At the Scientific Activist, Nick Anthis writes that these new rules are still restrictive. "The rules basically ensure that if a cell line was derived from an embryo that was not left over from a fertility clinic, work on that cell line can never be funded by federal dollars. Ever," he writes.
Science Progress' Michael Rugnetta applauds the ethical framework of the guidelines that ensure informed consent, including that the donors understand they may not personally benefit from the donation, lack of financial incentives for donation, among others. The comment period ends in 30 days and the Obama administration plans to finalize them by July 7th.