This morning, U.S. district court judge Royce Lamberth dismissed a case that threatened to ban federal funding for all human embryonic stem cell research. At issue was the Dickey-Wicker amendment, which prohibits federal money from being used to destroy or harm a human embryo. Stem cell scientists have successfully argued in the past that using the money to support research on stem cell lines that had been derived with other sources of funding sidestepped that requirement; the two plaintiffs who brought the suit disagreed. They also argued that embryonic stem cell research unfairly diverted federal money from the study of adult human stem cells, which are not derived from embryos. From this morning's Washington Post:
“This Court, following the D.C. Circuit’s reasoning and conclusions, must find that defendants reasonably interpreted the Dickey-Wicker Amendment to permit funding for human embryonic stem cell research because such research is not ‘research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed,’” Lamberth wrote.
We've written about this issue numerous times before (see below). But to quickly get up to speed, you may want to read an April blog entry from Amy Adams at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which nicely summarizes the background of the case.
Previously: Stem cell funding injunction overturned by federal court, More on ongoing stem cell court case, Judge Lamberth’s stem cell opinion is disappointingly bad, Stanford stem cell expert weighs in on district court ruling