NIH Releases Guidelines for Federal Funding of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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According to the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”), “studies of human embryonic stem cells may yield information about the complex events that occur during human development… and could provide information about how diseases arise and suggest new strategies for therapy. Human embryonic stem cells may also be used to test new drugs… [and to] generat[e] cells and tissues that could be used for cell-based therapies.”[1]

On March 9, 2009, President Obama lifted former President Bush’s restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research by signing Executive Order 13505: Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells. In the Executive Order, the President permits the Secretary of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), through the Director of the NIH, to support and conduct “responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cell research, to the extent permitted by law.”

Moreover, the President directed the NIH to review and revise its human embryonic stem cell (“HES”) guidelines to be consistent with the Presidential order. On April 23, 2009, the NIH released its new guidelines, available here, which are open for public comment until May 26, 2009.

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