News of the WeekEMBRYONIC STEM CELLS

Controversial Ruling Throws U.S. Research Into a Tailspin

Science  03 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5996, pp. 1132-1133
DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5996.1132

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Summary

A U.S. judge's surprise decision last week to block government funding of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research has left scientists across the country confused, upset, and angry. Those on the intramural staff of the National Institutes of Health near Washington, D.C., got orders this week to stop all hESC work immediately; independent researchers funded by NIH were trying to understand what the ruling means for their own labs. On Monday, NIH issued a notice indicating that no more money will be released for hESC studies—all pending proposals and renewals are on hold—but investigators who received grant awards before 23 August can continue to spend the funds. That interpretation could, however, be open to challenge. On Tuesday, government lawyers asked a federal court to stay the injunction.