Stem Cell Research Restriction Lifted

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On Monday, March 9, President Barack Obama signed an order lifting the ban on federal funding for certain types of embryonic stem cell research — a move that is being commended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

The order will now allow federal money to support research on lines of stem cells that were created after August 9, 2001. Under President George W. Bush’s previous executive order, federally-funded research was limited to 21 stem cell lines created before this date so as not to promote the destruction of new embryos. Now, research on stem cell lines that have been created since then (using private funding) will be eligible for support from the federal government.

The ADA issued a statement on Monday applauding President Obama for “lifting existing restrictions on the use of embryonic stem cells, while maintaining strict ethical guidelines.” R. Paul Robertson, MD, President of Medicine & Science at the ADA, said that the move “brings hope to the nearly 24 million American adults and children with diabetes” (you can read the full statement here).

Stem cell research may have the potential to find a cure for diabetes and many other diseases, possibly through the production of “replacement tissues,” such as beta cells that could help people with Type 1 diabetes produce insulin again. You can listen to a National Public Radio (NPR) segment about how stem cell research may be able to help people with diabetes here.

What’s your opinion on this news? Do you think it’s a step in the right direction, or do you think that the research that was already going on was sufficient? Share your thoughts with a comment.

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