The ISSCR applauds the decision announced today by the U.S. Court of Appeals of the DC Circuit to overturn the preliminary injunction in the case Sherley v. Sebelius that prohibited the funding of human embryonic stem cell research by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). By virtue of the injunction being overturned, the NIH may, for the moment, continue its long-standing funding of research using human embryonic stem cells.
The ISSCR has long held and strongly reaffirms that the best and most current scientific and medical data establishes that research on all forms of stem cells, including human embryonic stem cell research, is vital to understanding disease mechanisms and developing new therapies for many currently untreatable diseases. The ISSCR strongly supports the prevailing approach that funding should be decided on scientific merit to ensure that the best ideas are vigorously supported and that progress in translating stem cell science into the therapies of the future proceeds as quickly as possible. Rather than considering adult and embryonic stem cell research in competition with one another, the ISSCR asserts that both avenues are not only complementary but also vital to advancing technologies that will bring therapies to a range of different human diseases for which there are presently no cures.
The Court of Appeals decision pertains exclusively to the preliminary injunction that had been placed on the NIH by the District Court, and thus court proceedings continue. The ISSCR remains deeply concerned about the negative climate such litigation perpetuates, but hopeful that the NIH will ultimately prevail on the merits of the case.
“Biomedical researchers throughout the world have suffered over this past year from the continued uncertainty and concern that federally funded projects on embryonic research in the U. S. might be stopped cold. The uncertainty that has centered about U.S. federal funding of stem cell research slows vital research into understanding disease and treatment. We eagerly await the final decision which we hope will bring welcome relief and allow stem cell researchers to continue their dedicated efforts to help patients and their families,” says ISSCR President Elaine Fuchs.
Decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, April 29, 2011
The International Society for Stem Cell Research is an independent, nonprofit membership organization established to promote and foster the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas relating to stem cells, to encourage the general field of research involving stem cells and to promote professional and public education in all areas of stem cell research and application.