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October 13, 2010

Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine: The Controversy and the Science

In August, a federal court judge stunned scientists nationwide when he issued a temporary injunction against President Obama's expanded federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The result? Widespread controversy and confusion. Researchers in labs throughout the country scrambled to interpret the decision and assess its immediate impact on their work. The prohibition was condemned by advocates who believe that more permissive federal funding will lead to major medical breakthroughs in the fight against such diseases as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's. At the same time, it was cheered by groups that oppose the research on moral grounds. Continuing this legal saga, just days ago an appeals court placed a temporary stay on the injunction as it considers the case.

Regardless of the outcome of this legal fight, the contentious debate over the ethical use of human embryos in biomedical research has gained new momentum. What does this recent court ruling mean? And how will it impact work being conducted at the U of M, home of the world's first interdisciplinary institute dedicated to stem cell research?
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