B’nai B’rith International is pleased to learn the U.S. Supreme Court denied a challenge to the expansion of government funded embryonic stem cell research, allowing a lower court ruling to stand. The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear arguments validates the U.S. Court of Appeals’ rejection of a 2010 funding ban handed down by a federal judge.
This is a huge victory for the scientific community as federal dollars will enable researchers to step up efforts to find treatments and cures for such diseases as diabetes and Parkinson’s, and holds the promise of helping those with severe nerve damage regain the use of paralyzed limbs. While waiting for final word from the highest court, researchers continued to operate in the decade-long uncertainty which loomed over this research. By addressing degenerative disorders, embryonic stem cell research has the capacity to transform aging in America.
B’nai B’rith has long been a champion of embryonic stem cell research. With an aging population, we are always concerned with well-being and available medical treatment for these older Americans.
Degenerative disorders make aging a fearful process for millions of people and cost the healthcare system billions of dollars. Curing conditions like diabetes could transform the golden years and, in the long run, end up saving critical health care dollars.
In 2009 the White House revised guidelines initially issued by the Bush administration, who had allowed federal funding for stem cell research on only a limited number of stem cell lines, which, in practice, severely limited federal funding in the field. Federal regulators then issued guidelines to make sure that expanded research would be done in ways that followed strict, stringent ethical guidelines. However, in a surprising turn of events, in 2010 a federal judge ordered funding of embryonic stem cell research cease because it was in violation of a 1996 congressional ban on research in which human embryos are destroyed, essentially stalling progress again while the issue worked its way through the federal courts.
During this time, B’nai B’rith has monitored this litigation. We hope the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear arguments against allowing federal funding going to embryonic stem cell research will put this conversation to rest. B’nai B’rith will continue to monitor the situation in individual states as similar situations have arisen throughout the country.