Officials said experiments already under way could continue. But if the ruling is upheld, the government will be forced to suspend $54 million in financing for 22 scientific projects by the end of September. An additional 60 projects are threatened, and the institutes were busy Tuesday e-mailing researchers to tell them their money was in jeopardy.
“This decision has the potential to do serious damage to one of the most promising areas of biomedical research, just at the time when we were really gaining momentum,” said Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. The ruling, he added, “just pours sand into that engine of discovery.”
As opponents of the research hailed the ruling, the White House warned that if upheld, it could roll back not only the Obama rules, but also the more restrictive ones issued by his predecessor. Beyond human embryonic stem cell studies, research on vaccines, viruses and lung disease could also be affected, experts said, because cells commonly used in such research were derived from either aborted fetuses or destroyed embryos. More at NYT