July 27, 2011
Earlier today, Judge Royce Lamberth of the US District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the original lawsuit brought forth by Drs. James Sherley and Theresa Deisher challenging guidelines issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding ethical medical research involving embryonic stem cells.
Today’s dismissal of this case is a decisive statement in the court battle over the research and guidelines, recognizing the important role that embryonic stem cell research plays in the larger field of biomedical research, and the potential benefit to more than 100 million Americans who suffer from cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, juvenile diabetes, spinal cord injuries, and other debilitating diseases and disorders.
In the 18 months during which I have been serving as President of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR), we have seen three human clinical trials approved testing therapies derived from embryonic stem cell research. This is tremendous progress in a field that is considered, by research standards, as still young and growing.
Today’s ruling, while decisive, does not necessarily mean an end to court activity. It is however another strong signal to the research community that embryonic stem cell research will continue to be supported by Federal research guidelines, hopefully allowing continued progress towards new therapies and understanding of so many diseases including cancer impacting individuals worldwide. While we would not be surprised if the plaintiffs take advantage of their right to appeal this decision, we are confident in the strength of today’s ruling because it follows the analysis of the Court of Appeals opinion of this past April.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation will continue our longtime advocacy to help fund all fields of research and ensure the strongest level of support for medical research possible. For more information, or to become a member of our Advocacy Action Center visit our website. Congratulations to all of you who have been active advocates for this issue!