|US Appeals Court Overturns Federal Funded Stem Cell Ban|
|SciMed - Healthcare|
|TS-Si News Service|
|Sunday, 01 May 2011 02:00|
Washington, DC, USA. The US Federal Court of Appeals for DC overturned an August 2010 ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, paving the way for broader explorations of how stem cells function and regenerative medicine to harness stem cells and treat a wide range of birth conditions and currently incurable diseases.
The Obama Administration, which had attempted to lift the ban in 2009, welcomed the ruling, as have the nation’s top researchers.
The Sherly v. Sebelius decision had argued that when the Obama Administration lifted a ban on federal funding for the research in March 2009, it violated the 1996 Dickey-Wicker Amendment which barred using taxpayer funds in research that destroyed embryos. In response, US District District Court Judge Royce Lamberth temporarily ordered a ban on the use of federal money for the research until the court battle could be resolved.
Arnold Kriegstein, MD, PhD, is director of the Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Kriegstein was one of two University of California (UCSF) to file a Declaration in September 2010 in support of the UC Board of Regents’ motion to intervene in the Sherley v. Sebelius lawsuit.
Kriegstein is happy with the decision, but surprised the vote wasn’t unanimous. “In my opinion, the evidence in favor of pursuing this research is overwhelming compared to the arguments submitted to stop the research.”The Appeals Court decision put the Dickey-Wicker question to rest, ruling that the amendment was “ambiguous” and that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) “seems reasonably to have concluded that although Dickey-Wicker bars funding for the destructive act of deriving an ESC (embryonic stem cell) from an embryo, it does not prohibit funding a research project in which an ESC will be used,” according to the 2-1 decision.
“This is a victory not only for the scientists, but for the patients who are waiting for treatments and cures for terrible diseases,” says Arnold Kriegstein (cf. Sidebar).
“This ruling allows critical research to move forward, enabling scientists to compare human embryonic stem cells to other forms of stem cells, such as the cell lines which are derived from skin cells, and to pursue potentially life-saving therapies based on that research.”
UCSF is one of two universities, along with the University of Wisconsin (UW), that pioneered human embryonic stem cell research in the United States, beginning in the late 1990s.
Susan L. Solomon, CEO of the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) applauded the decision. “The time has come for our leaders to put progress before politics on this issue and remove all of the remaining, unnecessary limitations on human embryonic stem cell research conducted with the best ethical and medical practices."
"We need to put an end to the constant uncertainty facing the field of embryonic stem cell research so scientists can get on with the serious business of research and maintain the kind of momentum that will lead to cures for the most intractable diseases facing mankind.”
The ruling will make a significant difference for stem cell research in general, including institutions like UCSF, where the majority of stem cell investigators receive some funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for their research. Funding from the NIH, private philanthropy and other State of California have been critical for the program.
The ruling enables scientists to integrate research from multiple funding sources, thereby more quickly addressing the causes and therapies for diseases.
The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has developed one of the largest programs in the nation, primarily funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), a voter-supported initiative that provided $3 billion to fund statewide research in lieu of federal funding. UCSF also launched the nation’s first stem cell PhD program in 2010, for which the first class already has been chosen and will begin in fall 2011.
CitationSherly v. Sebelius: Dr. James L. Sherley, et el., Appellees V. Kathleen Sebelius, in her official capacity as Secretary of The Department of Health and Human Services, et al., Appellants. Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (No. 1:09-cv-01575). United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Curcuit. Argued December 6, 2010. Decided April 29, 2011.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 01 May 2011 09:32|