IN OTHER WORDS: Breakthrough
We welcome President Obama’s decision to lift the Bush administration’s restrictions on federal financing for embryonic stem cell research. His move ends a long, bleak period in which the moral objections of religious conservatives were allowed to constrain the progress of a medically important science. With the end of the Bush restrictions, scientists receiving federal money will be able to work with hundreds of stem cell lines that have since been created — and many more that will be created in the future.
Other important embryonic research is still being hobbled by the so-called Dickey-Wicker amendment. The amendment, which is regularly attached to appropriations bills for the Department of Health and Human Services, prohibits the use of federal funds to support scientific work that involves the destruction of human embryos or the creation of embryos for research purposes.
Until that changes, scientists who want to create embryos — and extract stem cells — matched to patients with specific diseases will have to rely on private or state support. Such research is one promising way to learn how the diseases develop and devise the best treatments. Congress sho-uld follow Obama’s lead and lift this prohibition so such important work can benefit from an infusion of federal dollars.