Dealing at least a temporary blow to the Obama administration’s planned expansion of stem cell research, a Federal judge has ordered a ban on public funding for these types of studies.
U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia, Royce Lamberth, ruled that the guidelines published last year by the National Institutes of Health, which permitted Federal funding for studies on existing stem cell lines, violated Federal law that prohibits Federal funds to be used on research that destroys human embryos.
While social conservatives applauded the ruling, it has been met with criticism from many members of the scientific community.
"This injunction blocks important research on how to unlock the enormous potential of human embryonic stem cells," said Sean Tipton of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
"It will be incredibly disruptive and once again drive the best scientific minds into work less likely to yield treatments for conditions from diabetes to spinal cord injury," he added.
In March 2009, after a little more than a month in office, President Obama signed an executive order reversing the Bush administration’s ban on Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.