Supreme Court will not hear a challenge to President Obama's policy of
expanding government-funded research using embryonic stem cells that scientists
say may offer hope for new treatments for spinal injuries and Parkinson
disease, reports the Los
The court's action brings an end to a lawsuit that threatened to end all
funding for such research.
A federal judge in Washington in 2010 ordered the National Institutes of
Health (NIH) to halt funding of the research, citing a long-standing
congressional ban on spending for research in which "human embryos are
But an appeals court overturned that order and ruled last year that the ban
applied only to research that destroyed human embryos so as to obtain stem
President George W. Bush in 2001 had allowed limited research on
several stem cell lines that were already in existence. Upon taking office in
2009, President Obama went further and said NIH could conduct
"scientifically worthy human stem cell research to the extent permitted by
law." Under guidelines issued by NIH, researchers can used stem line
cells derived from donated frozen embryos that are no longer needed for
fertility treatments, says the article.
Two researchers who work with adult stem lines brought the lawsuit to the high
court. They were represented by several groups, including the Law of Life
Project, whose general counsel called human stem cell research "an ethical
tragedy as well as a waste of the taxpayer's money," the Times says.