Court OKs Use of Federal Funds for Embryonic Stem Cell Research
On Friday, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously upheld a lower court's decision to dismiss a lawsuit challenging federal funding for embryonic stem cell research,Â Modern Healthcare reports.
Background on Case
The ruling came in a case filed by two researchers after the Obama administration in 2009 reversed a George W. Bush administration policy that restricted embryonic stem cell research.
In August, 2010, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth issued an immediate ban on federal spending on such research in anticipation that the administration would lose the case. The government appealed that decision, and the D.C. Circuit appeals court stopped the ban from going into effect while it reviewed the case.
In April 2011, the appeals court in a 2-1 decision supported the administrationâs position and lifted the injunction, sending the case back to the district court for review.
According to Modern Healthcare, the appeals court ordered the district court to obey its conclusion that HHS can legally sponsor embryonic stem cell research as long as the stem cell lines were already in existence and the funds are not used in the process of isolating them from the embryo. The district court complied and sent the case back to the appeals court (Carlson, Modern Healthcare, 8/24).
Details of Latest Ruling
Chief Judge David Sentelle said that the 1996 Dickey-Wicker Amendment "permits federal funding of research projects that utilize already derived ESCs -- which are not themselves embryos -- because no 'human embryo or embryos are destroyed' in such projects," adding that the court will not revisit the issue.
In a statement following the decision, NIH Director Francis Collins said the agency âwill continue to move forward, conducting and funding research in this very promising area of scienceâ (Holland, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 8/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.