Stem Cell Litigation
Dear Parkinson’s Community,
I assume many of you have heard by now that earlier today Judge Lamberth, of the D.C. District Court, ruled that federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research is not prohibited by federal law and can continue. While we would not be surprised if the plaintiffs take advantage of their right to appeal this decision, we are confident in the strength of today’s ruling because it follows the analysis of the Court of Appeals opinion of this past April. The District Court ruled that, based on the Court of Appeals recent ruling, the “NIH seems to have reasonably concluded that…Dickey-Wicker does not prohibit funding for a research project in which a [embryonic stem cell] will be used,” and was “constrained” to adopt that opinion and rule in favor of the government. While it is clear that the District Court does not like this outcome, the judge acknowledges that he is bound by the earlier opinion and analysis. The complete opinion is attached.
When this case was first filed nearly two years ago, we were concerned that the challenge would make this field of research too vulnerable and researchers would focus in other areas. We have been heartened to see that has not happened, and human embryonic stem cell research has continued at a very steady pace. We are now pleased that, as a result of today’s ruling, any lingering questions about whether this important research can be funded by the federal government should disappear.
Congratulations to all Parkinson’s advocates and other advocates around the country. It is your continued devotion to this issue for more than ten years that has allowed the research to continue.
Amy Comstock Rick