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The Stem-Cell Ruling: Scientists Alarmed at 'Step Backward'
A year and a half after President Obama loosened restrictions on government funding of human-embryonic-stem-cell research, a federal judge on Monday, Aug. 23, declared all such studies temporarily off-limits for taxpayer dollars, on the grounds that they violate a 1996 law.
The decision could be a devastating step backward for a promising new science that has the potential to generate new treatments and possibly even cures for diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's — and the reaction from scientists was swift and blistering.
"The court decision threatens to impede progress in regenerative medicine in our country," says Dr. Elaine Fuchs, a professor at Rockefeller University and president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. "It must be challenged as quickly as possible."
A statement by Dr. Alan Trounson, president of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, which directs $3 billion in state taxpayer funds in the field, was more succinct: "The decision is a deplorable brake on all stem-cell research."