On Thursday, a federal appeals court held that federal funding for embryonic stem cell research could continue.
The ruling comes nearly two weeks after Federal Judge Royce C. Lamberth blocked President Obama's 2009 executive order expanding stem cell research, citing a 1998 statute banning the use of federal funding for the destruction of embryos. Following that August injunction, scientists scrambled to asses whether they could keep research projects going without the expected government funds. This week's ruling by the United States Court of Appeals would save "research mice from being euthanized, cells in petri dishes from starving and scores of scientists from a suspension of paychecks." The New York Times' Gardiner Harris reports:
Among the projects whose financing was threatened by Judge Lamberth's order was one overseen by Dr. Ira J. Fox, a professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, who has used embryonic stem cells to successfully transplant new liver cells into animals.
Another threatened project was one by Dr. Xuejun Parsons of the University of California, Riverside, who hopes to use embryonic stem cells to create nerve cells that could replace those damaged by Parkinson's disease.