Minggu, 15 Maret 2009

Obama Lifts Stem Cell Ban

Last week President Obama signed an executive order lifting the restrictions on stem cell research laid down by President Bush in 2001 (See the Current Issue in Human Biology 5th. ed., pp. 72-73). Most political analysts expect Congress to enact new legislation soon that will permit federal research dollars to again begin to flow for promising stem cell research projects.

President Obama’s executive order will permit federally funded researchers to use the hundreds of stem cell lines in existence today, as well as new stem cell lines created by private funding in the future. But there is still a prohibition in place, called the Dickey-Wicker Amendment of 1996, which prohibits federal funding for research “in which human embryos are created, destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death”. So while federally funded researchers will be able to use stem cell lines created by private funds (because they themselves did not destroy any embryos), they will still be prohibited from creating their own new cell lines from human embryos.

How long can the Dickey-Wicker Amendment can stand up in this new climate of stem cell research permissiveness? It's anybody’s guess. The debate continues…

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