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Judge tosses suit seeking to ban Federal funding for stem cell research

July 29, 2011 by  

A district judge recently tossed out a legal challenge to federal stem cell research funding.A Federal judge recently threw out a lawsuit challenging the use of government funds for human embryonic stem cell research.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth had previously stopped the government funding of the controversial research because it may have been in violation of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which bans public funds from being used in research where an embryo is harmed, according to Bloomberg. However, an appeals court ruled that such funding was most likely lawful and allowed the research to resume while Lamberth further considered the case.

“The court’s determination that it is bound by the D.C. Circuit’s conclusion that ‘research’ in the Dickey-Wicker Amendment is ambiguous as a matter of law is buttressed by the fact that plaintiffs haven’t offered any new information or reasoning that was unavailable to the D.C. Circuit,” Lamberth stated in his recent ruling.

Lamberth also said he was bound by the appeals court ruling.

The lawsuit that sought to put an end to the funding was brought by two doctors against the U.S. Health and Human Services Department and the National Institutes of Health.

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  • crystal

    Embryonic stem cell research has been found (a few years ago) not to be useful. The embryonic stem cell connects to all tissues including diseases such as cancer. Why are we giving money to something that doesn’t work.

    Now the other stem cells have been proven effective. One man’s foot wouldn’t heal and they took stem cells out of his buttocks and his food condition healed perfectly. Let’s develop that. This is why scientist are not respected. They continue to work on and get money for things they’ve proven don’t work.

    • Robert Smith

      Chrystal, I sent you a long list of things that will be / can be / and are being helped with embrionic research.

      Have you forgotten so quickly?


      • Jay

        robert, that list you provided was a pure fabrication! Who do you think you’re fooling? Let the ones who are committed to their idiotic embryonic stem-cell research go begging for private funding, they can start with you.

      • GregS

        Robert, NO treatments have EVER been developed from embryonic stem cells, despite the BILLIONS of dollars that have been poured into this research over the past 10-15 years. This is a FACT!

        Any successes involving embryonic stem cells, which you may have provided in these forums, only involves petri dish experiments done in the lab. That’s as far as they’ve ever gotten. Those are NOT treatments by any stretch of the immagination!

  • http://yahoo dora sommer

    if any of these “au contraire” know it all scientists, would for once (including ex-President Bush)stop and think of savings peoples lives by using discarded human parts to PROFIT AND HELP ONE OF THEM OR THEIR FAMILIE”S MEMBERS the war would stop in an instant.Are they here to heel the survivers or the dead garbage ?? sickening

  • JimH

    If the country is so broke that it needs to raise the debt ceiling, should we be funding this anyway?
    If embrionic stem cell research held any promise private funding would be pouring in. Only the government funds losing causes.

    • Robert Smith

      Actually, Jim, it’s rare the private sector does basic research. They let the government and accademic research get the basics out of the way and then private industry scrambles to patent some small varient that they can beat everyon else away with.

      That’s called “capitalism” by the looters who steal the ideas and then sell them for big bucks back to the taxpayers who supported the beginnings.


      • JimH

        Rob, You state that like it is a fact without anything to back it up with. I used to have a job shipping lab equiptment and chemicals all over the nation. Most of these labs were private sector. Many of them pharmacutical companies. They weren’t buying this stuff for decoration.
        If you have something FACTUAL to add to the conversation speak up, but quit spreading BS just to see if you can get a reaction.
        If for some commie reason you have something against capitalism comrad, give a legitimate reason, but don’t just make up stuff because it fits what YOU want it to be.
        If embrionic stem cells were worth financing the private sector WOULD be all over it.
        My main point is if the government is so broke should they even be involved in financing that?

  • Jay


    Embryonic stem cells are cells taken from the inner cell mass of an embryo from four days to several weeks after fertilization. These stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they can develop into almost any body tissue. Some medical researchers hope this potency may mean they can one day be used in stem cell therapies for many different conditions.

    Embryonic stem cells are obtained by killing the embryo. Some bioethicists believe that any human organism, even an embryo, is a human person with the same rights as any other person. To them, removing the inner cell mass and killing the embryo is equivalent to murder.

    Other bioethicists do not see the embryo as having the full rights of a child or adult, but nevertheless find the destruction of embryos for research to be troubling. To them, the ethics of embryonic stem cells depends on the potential benefits. They perform a sort of ethical cost-benefit analysis, comparing the harm to the embryo to the good of the possible therapies that may one be developed.

    Finally, some bioethicists do not consider the embryo to be anything but a potential person. They do not consider the use of embryonic stem cells to be any more troubling than the use of any other human tissue in research.


    Adult stem cells are obtained from tissues that have already undergone some degree of development. Despite the name, they come not only from adults, but from fetuses, newborns, and children as well.
    One rich source of adult stem cells is the umbilical cord, an organ that naturally dies after birth.

    Removing stem cells from an umbilical cord after a baby has been born is therefore not controversial, as long as the parents consent to the procedure.

    Another source is bone marrow. Several types of multipotent stem cells are found there. Obtaining bone marrow from a donor is a painful procedure that has some inherent risks, but if the donor (or the donor’s legal guardian) gives informed consent, ethicists generally consider it acceptable.

    As long as informed consent is obtained from a person (or from the person’s legal guardian), the use of adult stem cells is uncontroversial because they can be obtained without killing an embryo, child, or adult.

    Embryonic stem cell treatments are entering human clinical trials. In general, there are some barriers to the use of embryonic stem cell treatments. Learn the problems faced by researchers hoping to find embryonic stem cell therapies.

    Embryonic stem cells are widely touted as having the potential to cure serious diseases and heal devastating injuries. Embryonic stem cells are obtained initially by destroying embryos and, theoretically, can then be reproduced indefinitely. Embryonic stem cell therapies are currently not available to treat any human diseases or injuries. While research is ongoing and clinical trials are beginning, there are certain hurdles that have so far limited the potential of embryonic stem cells.

    Immune System Rejection

    Any embryonic stem cells that may currently be used in a treatment have a different genetic makeup than the patient. Because they come from a genetically distinct donor, they are sometimes called heterologous stem cells or allogenic stem cells. The problem with heterologous stem cell transplants is the same as with any other heterologous tissue or organ transplant. The patient’s immune system sees these genetically distinct cells as foreign and treats them as invaders. This phenomenon is called immune system rejection.

    In organ transplants, immune system rejection requires the use of powerful anti-rejection drugs. Side effects of anti-rejection drugs can include high blood pressure, kidney and liver toxicity, and increased susceptibility to infection, depending on which drugs are used (Peters 2003). Treatments using transplants of heterologous stem cells would likely require the use of anti-rejection drugs, just as with organ transplants. In this case, the risks of the medications must be compared with the benefits of treatment.

    The problems of immune system rejection can only be overcome in humans through the use of therapeutic cloning. Therapeutic cloning has so far not been successful in humans. In addition, bioethicists have raised significant ethical objections to human cloning which must be resolved.

    Stem Cell Tumors (Teratomas)

    Much of the current research on embryonic stem cells has been done on mice. In mice, researchers have the advantage of being able to use syngenic stem cells — that is, embryonic stem cells with the same genetic makeup as the host — due to the extensive selective breeding that has been done on laboratory mice.

    With syngenic embryonic stem cells, researchers have had great difficulty causing the stem cells to differentiate properly. For example (Nussbaum 2007), in experimental heart disease treatment, the goal of the research is to cause the stem cells to become heart muscle cells, but doing this in vivo (that is, inside the body) has been challenging. Instead, the stem cells form masses of undifferentiated cells.

    These non-cancerous tumors are called teratomas. Even when placed in injured heart tissue, which hypothetically should give chemical cues to the stem cells to become heart muscle cells, the stem cells instead form teratomas. Research continues on how to solve this significant problem.

    With allogenic embryonic stem cells, the teratomas are eliminated by the immune system and therefore do not cause problems. Unfortunately, they also do not help treat the disease they are intended to treat.

    • GregS

      Jay, you forgot to mention the use of iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells as a third source of stem cells. These stem cells act exactly like embryonic stem cells.

      There are three main advantages to using iPS cells over embryonic stem cells:

      1. No embryos are required to produce these cells, so there are no ethical issues involved.

      2. This type of stem cells comes from the patient’s own skin or fat cells. Therefore, there is less chance of the patient developing an immune reation to the cells, which would require the administration of ani-immune drugs.

      3. IPS cells are far less likely to develop tumors, as opposed to embryonic stem cells.

      • GregS

        “…reation to the cells, which would require the administration of ani-immune…” should be “…reaction to the cells, which would require the administration of anti-immune…”

  • Thinking About

    Research is studies to provide possible cures or treatments. It should be left to the donors what should happen and the government should stay out of the donors decisions. I believe cures and treatments can be found on all forms of stem cell research. There are some events which happens with embryonic stem cell which is already turned off in adult stem cells and thus has abilities not available in other stem cells. We also had not gone to the moon 100 years ago so progress can be obtained with research.

  • GregS

    We should NOT be pouring tax dollars into embryonic stem cell research, which has gone NOWHERE, after pouring billions of dollars into it for the past ten years, especially when there are other sources of stem cells (adult stem cells and iPS cells), which are FAR more promising, and which have NO ethical issues associated with them at all.

    As a taxpayer, I am fed up with the wasteful spending by our government. I would much rather see my tax dollars going toward research that will ultimately produce treatments, without having to cannibalize the human species to do it. Embryonic stem cells have produced NO treatments after all the time and money that has been spent on them, whereas over 70 treatments have been developed from adult stem cells.

    IPS cells are almost exactly like embryonic stem cells, but they are obtained from the patient’s own skin or fat cells, and they can develop into any type of tissue, just like embryonic stem cells. Since these cells are from the patient’s own body, there is no immune response by the body that would destroy them.

    I know, that if I were a patient requiring life-saving treatment from stem cells, I would prefer adult stem cells or iPS stem cells, because they are the safer way to go.

    For these reasons, federal funding of fetal stem cell research is a complete WASTE of the taxpayers’ money.

    • GregS

      “…fetal stem cell research…” should be “…embryonic stem cell research…”

    • Robert Smith

      Greg says: “As a taxpayer, I am fed up with the wasteful spending by our government.”

      Me too.

      Join me to advocate to end the lost wars in the MidEast.

      Join me to advocate an end to the lost war on drugs.

      Join me to end no child left behind.

      Join me to end the stealing on Wall Street.

      Join me to end the reckless drain of jobs over seas.


      • GregS

        Robert, your post has NOTHING to do with what is being talked about, so I won’t waste time responding directly to it.

        As usual, you go off on tangents in order to shift the attention away from the topic when you can’t refute what is being said.

  • jopa

    JimH: You tell Rob to be factual and then come forward to explain your expertise on the subject.Being that you worked in a warehouse in shipping sending this equipment and chemicals really doesn’t qualify you to be the leading stem cell research scientist.That is just too funny!!

    • Robert Smith

      jopa points out: “Being that you worked in a warehouse in shipping sending this equipment and chemicals really doesn’t qualify you to be the leading stem cell research scientist.That is just too funny!!”

      The really funny part is that by that same logic it would make him an expert on running a meth lab. Now, that’s what America needs: A meth junky doing stem cell research! (not)


      • JimH

        jopa & Rob, I was pointing out that the private sector does R&D. I only used one example of how I know the private sector does R&D. I also know that there are joint ventures between private sector and government labs. Argon National Lab, GM, and BP are working on the hydrogen fuel cell together. I know this because people who work at Argon told me. They would know.
        I don’t know what you two were trying lamely to refute. I never claimed to be a stem cell researcher and what is this meth lab remark?
        I just noticed niether one of you really refuted my comment.

  • GregS

    Well said, crystal! Adult stem cells and iPS (induced pleuripotent stem) cells are the way to go.

  • GregS

    Excellent points, JimH!

  • GregS

    dora, you apparently don’t know what embryonic stem cells are. They are NOT “discarded human parts,” as you put it. Whole living human embryos are killed and destroyed to obtain embryonic stem cells.

    No treatments have ever been developed from the use of embryonic stem cells, because of the tumors that they cause. Other sources of stem cells have been proven to be more effective. In fact, well over 70 treatments for various diseases have been developed with adult stem cells.

  • GregS

    Robert Smith says:

    “…it’s rare the private sector does basic research.”

    Wrong! Billions of dollars have been poured into human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research in many states and private institutions in this country, as well as all over the world. In fact, according to the Rockefeller Institute:

    Foundations and private philanthropists are spending a ton of money on hESC. While we don’t have it all by a long shot, we counted some $1.7 billion in private donations over the last few years to support stem cell research, most of it to establish stem cell programs free of federal funding restrictions at a number of different universities and other research institutions. This doesn’t count grants supporting hESC and other stem cell research made by disease foundations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

  • Robert Smith

    Prove it was “fabrication,” Jay. I gave sources, etc.

    Your proclimation doesn’t mean squat.


  • Robert Smith

    Treatments will follow the research that was set back by folks who want their religion rather than cures to be on top.


  • Robert Smith

    Greg says: “Whole living human embryos are killed and destroyed to obtain embryonic stem cells.”

    So? The research has been delayed because of bad decisions by the Bush administration.

    Let the researchers do their research. There will be treatments.

    I don’t want YOUR reiligion standing in the way of a cure for something.


  • Robert Smith

    If there is that much faith on the part of those who have the money then the government should have faith too.


  • GregS

    Robert, research on embryonic stem cells has NEVER been “set back,” simply because the federal government didn’t fund it.

    As I pointed out below, private individuals and organizations have poured billions of dollars into research on embryonic stem cells, and NO treatments have come out of it, whereas over 70 treatments have been developed, using adult stem cells.

    Furthermore, in your post above, you claimed that “…things…are being helped with embrionic research.” This is simply NOT true, since NO treatments have been developed.

    Your remark about “…research that was set back by folks who want their religion rather than cures to be on top,” is really just an excuse to cover up what is really a complete WASTE of our tax dollars on research that will NEVER produce any treatemens. Even if any treatments are produced, the patients will have to be shot up with anti-immune drugs for the rest of their lives to fight off rejection of the embryonic stem cells. This problem could be avoided by using other types of stem cells (e.g. adult stem cells and iPS cells).

    Now tell me, Robert, what does any of what I have just said have to do with religion?

  • GregS

    First of all, Robert, my comment to dora, that you quoted, was in response to her lack of understanding of what embryonic stem cells are, and it was based on SCIENTIFIC FACT. It had NOTHING to do with religion.

    Secondly, research on embryonic stem cells was NOT delayed, simply because the Bush administration didn’t fund it. As I indicated below, BILLIONS of dollars have been poured into this research by states and other countries, as well as by individuals and private organizations in this country, and still, this research produced NOTHING. Again, Robert, my comment to dora on this had NOTHING to do with religion.

  • GregS

    The problem with your statement, Robert, is that the government does NOT have the money to WASTE on research that has gone NOWHERE, with all the billions of dollars that have already been poured into it, especially when there are other sources of stem cells that offer FAR more promise (i.e. more bang for the buck).

  • Robert Smith

    And anati-abortion zealots aren’t based in religion.


  • GregS

    We’re talking about stem cell research here, Robert, NOT abortion, and NOT religion.


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