Federal appeals court upholds 2011 ruling on federal funding of hESC research

A panel of the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia determined late last week that federal funding of research involving human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) is permissible and may continue. The decision upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit that challenged NIH guidelines issued in response to President Obama’s 2009 executive order expanding federal support for hESC research.

Numerous articles referencing the decision state incorrectly that federal money can be used to fund the destruction of human embryos. Curent NIH guidelines clearly distinguish “between the derivation of stem cells from an embryo that results in the embryo’s destruction, for which federal funding is prohibited, and research involving hESCs that does not involve an embryo nor result in an embryo’s destruction, for which federal funding is permitted.”

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