skip to main content

COVID-19 Information and Guidance

The Fate of Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Examining the Legal Battle Behind the Science

The Science and Technology Policy Program of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy invites you to attend a presentation on "The Fate of Embryonic Stem Cell Research." At this event, experts will address recent court rulings that reinterpret the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which prohibits the creation of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines from destroyed embryos. Federal funding currently is allowed for research using existing lines, all of which were created with private funds, but the recent court decisions call into question this interpretation. Discussion will focus on the impacts of these rulings on scientists and stem cell research, future legal actions, and how the Obama administration and Congress can address the issues created by the court"s decision.

On Aug. 23, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled in the preliminary motions of Sherley v. Sebelius that funding hESC research violated the Dickey-Wicker Amendment. The court issued an injunction blocking all NIH funding for hESC research, which resulted in NIH removing all hESC grants from review and blocking funding to newly awarded grants. Research at NIH's Bethesda, Md., campus was halted as well. On Sept. 8, the Department of Justice appealed; in response, a federal appeals court temporarily suspended the injunction to hear arguments from both the plaintiffs in Sherley v. Sebelius and the Department of Justice. Though hESC research is permitted -- pending the appeals court ruling -- Lamberth"s decision could ultimately ban funding regardless of whether the appeals court permanently stays the injunction. These tumultuous court rulings have left scientists uncertain of the future of the $140 million in grants currently funded by NIH.

Support for this program has been generously provided by the State of Qatar Endowment for International Stem Cell Policy.

Speaker Kirstin Matthews

View all speakers


Mon, Oct. 4, 2010
4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
(GMT-0500) America/Chicago