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Less than 2 months after a US District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that federal funding of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research is permitted under US law, the case is back in the courtroom. Two scientists opposed to such research filed an appeal yesterday (September 19), contending that government dollars would be better spent on research with adult stem cells, Reuters reported.
The scientist— biological engineer James Sherley of Boston Biomedical Research Institute and Theresa Deisher of Washington-based AVM Biotechnology—are the same two that first sued the Obama administration to block funding in August 2009, arguing that federal funding of hESC research violated federal law, which prohibits US government funding of research involving the destruction of embryos. Judge Lamberth originally ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in 2010, temporarily halting all federal funds for hESC research, but that decision was overturned by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit this past April. Now, Sherley and Deisher have filed an appeal with the same appeals court.
The appeal wasn’t unexpected, ScienceInsider reported, and legal experts predict the appeals court will uphold its first decision to support federal funding of hESC research, which could in turn prompt Sherley and Deisher to take their case to the US Supreme Court.