The head of the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota says a new appeals court ruling is good news for stem cell researchers.
Thursday's ruling by a three-judge panel temporarily permits federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. In August, a federal judge had blocked the use of federal dollars for the research because he said it appeared to violate funding restrictions created during the Bush administration.
The U of M's Jonathan Slack says the appeals ruling is the first step toward "undoing the damage" caused by the funding ban.
"Although it is just a few days' reprieve and it is an administrative measure, I think it's a good sign," said Slack. "It does indicate that the judges involved in the appeal are going to look at the science, they are going to look at the consequences of the injunction, and they're going to evaluate the level of damage to a whole range of biomedical research."
The university has five large federal research grants that could be affected by the outcome of the stem cell funding dispute. So far, none of them have been halted.
"As far as we know, all of the grants in the category have either recently been renewed or they're not due for renewal for another few months," said Slack. "So as far as we know, nothing has been terminated and we're very relieved about that. But you know, over a 12-month cycle, they would all be terminated."