This week a federal appeals court ruled that federal funding of embryonic stem cell research can continue for the time being.
The order by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit extends the temporary action of September 9 and will remain in place until the appeals court can consider the case.
The Justice Department argued that years of progress in research could be lost if the funding ban were to remain in place. The freeze on federal funding forced the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to pull 50 grants awaiting peer review and freeze 22 grants up for renewal, at least temporarily.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs released this statement:
“President Obama made expansion of stem cell research and the pursuit of groundbreaking treatments and cures a top priority when he took office. We’re heartened that the court will allow NIH and their grantees to continue moving forward while the appeal is resolved.”
Medical researchers value stem cells from embryos for their ability to morph into any cell of the body, with the potential for better treatments or even cures for diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis, as well as spinal cord injuries.
In 2001, President George W. Bush issued the executive order making it illegal to use federal funds for research on new embryonic stem cell lines.
After taking office in 2009, President Obama fulfilled a campaign promise by issuing an executive order lifting the ban issued by Bush, legalizing federal funding for research on new embryonic stem cell lines.
While the political football is in play, medical research can move forward. For people waiting for potential cures, every day counts.
Related reading on Care2
- Federal Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research Resumes
- Embryonic Stem Cell Ruling Halts March Toward Cures
- Judge Stops Federal Funding For Embryonic Stem Cell Research