Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stem cell news, links

Adam Keiper and Yuval Levin write about Stem Cells, Life, and the Law at National Review Online.
Whichever way the matter is finally resolved in the courts, it is certainly a great improvement to be asking this question — does the research being funded involve the destruction of human embryos? — and presuming that if the answer is yes, then the research should not be funded, rather than debating whether the destruction of developing human lives is of any consequence, and whether it should be supported by taxpayer funds. Putting thequestion this way, and presuming the incalculable moral significance of human life, was certainly the intent of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, and should be the aim of any decent society.

The National Institutes of Health's stem cell page has this statement at the top.
Pursuant to a court order issued August 23, 2010, NIH is not accepting submissions of information about human embryonic stem cell lines for NIH review. All review of human embryonic stem cell lines under the NIH Guidelines is suspended. The February 23, 2010, proposal to revise the Guidelines is also suspended.
According to this article in the Minnesota Star-Tribune, human embryonic stem cells projects which have already received funding will continue but many of them are up for renewal funding in the next year.
In the meantime, 50 requests for new funding that were being assessed by the NIH had been "pulled out of the stack" and will not be considered, Collins said. About a dozen other requests for $15 million to $20 million that had gone through the full review and were likely to be approved were frozen, he said. And 22 grants totaling about $54 million due for renewal in September will be cut off, he said. "The consequences of this decision are dramatic and far-reaching," he said.

An additional 199 grants for about $131 million that had already been awarded will be able to continue, Collins said. But those grants, including 143 worth about $95 million that are up for renewal within the next year, will be forced to stop if the situation is not resolved by the time they come up for review, Collins said.

The Obama Administration has announced its plans to appeal the ruling.

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