Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Some Good News

I needed a break from all the bad news, so this WaPo article was very welcome this morning. The news is what provoked one researcher to exclaim that it was a good day for science (and we haven't had that kind of news in a while).

The National Institutes of Health announced Tuesday that 13 additional lines of human embryonic stem cells are eligible for federal funding, including the most widely used line.

The NIH's approval of the lines should alleviate mounting concerns among some supporters of stem cell research that the Obama administration was hindering the work.

President Obama did follow through on one of his campaign promises when he lifted the blanket restrictions against federal funding for research using any embryonic stem cell lines developed after 2001. However, he also directed the NIH to develop ethical guidelines which had to be met before the funds would flow, and those guidelines turned out to be nearly as restrictive as the Bush rules. After the outcry of researchers, those regulations were revisited and the results are in.

What this means is that those who have been diligently working with embryonic stem cells in research to alleviate the ravages of such conditions as Alzheimer's, juvenile diabetes, and spinal cord injuries can now apply for federal funding of their projects. That will hopefully speed up the process. It may be too late to benefit those of my generation, but there's now more hope for the next generation.

A good day for science and for the rest of us.



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