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Posted by on May 10, 2011 in Ethics, Legal, Legislation

Stem Cell Update

Stem Cell Update

hESCs.jpgTwelve days ago (April 29, 2011), the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit finally ruled (in a 2-1 decision) against a preliminary injunction that banned the use of federal funds to support research on human embryonic stem cells (hESCs).* (So, to sift through the multiple negatives in that sentence, there is now no preliminary injunction against the use of hESCs in medical research. In other words, the government can fund hESC work…at least for now.)

The preliminary injunction was granted by Judge Royce Lamberth way back on August 23 of last year in the case of Sherley et al v. Silbelius et al (for essential background on this issue, see last year’s no. 3 story at Pathophilia). Given the strike down, it is presently up to Lamberth to rule on a permanent injunction against federally funded hESC research.

And so now, given the appeals court 2-1 split decision, the original plaintiffs (Sherley et al) want to amend their complaint, reports The Great Beyond blog. Their proposed additional arguments are presumably informed by the opinion of the dissenting appeals court judge, Karen LeCraft Henderson, who called her colleagues’ reasoning “linguistic jujitsu.” The defendants (ie, the government), in no surprise, oppose the plaintiffs’ “unnecessary” motion to amend their complaint.

When Judge Lamberth will make his ruling on a permanent injunction in this case is a big, useless guesslike, oh, sometime in the future.

* The appellate arguments were made in December of last year.
Image of undifferentiated hESCs from http://www.nih.gov/catalyst/2007/07.01.01/page1.html. 

bmartin (1127 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.