A stem cell. The cause of all this trouble.
The 100th anniversary episode of our podcast, Distillations, provided updates on issues we'd previously reported on. One topic we didn't have time revisit? Stem cells.
In our episode commemorating President Obama's inauguration, we explained restrictions on embryonic stem cell research funding implemented by the previous administration and how they might ease in the coming years.
It didn't take long. In March 2009 Presient Obama issued an executive order lifting the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research to scientists' cheers.
But now the future of this research is in jeopardy again. On Monday U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled to block Obama's order, saying the use of taxpayer money to fund research destructive to embryos is illegal based on 1996's Dickey-Wicker amendment.
While the Obama Administration prepares to appeal, researchers in the stem cell area are surprised and worried. As NIH director Francis Collins told the New York Times, "This decision has the potential to do serious damage to one of the most promising areas of biomedical research, just at the time when we were really gaining momentum."
We at CHF will be paying close attention as the battle unfolds, so soon after many believed the battle had been won.