White House takes centrist step on stem cell research
Only surplus embryos from infertility treatments
May 19, 2009
The Obama administration has clarified its policy on embryonic stem cell research, issuing draft guidelines to expand federal funding for the controversial research but retaining a ban on funding for its most ethically fraught versions.
The proposed guidelines, released April 17 by the National Institutes of Health, are likely to enable a vast expansion of federally funded research on embryonic stem cells.
Scientists have studied embryonic stem cells for more than a decade because of their potential to become any one of more than 200 types of tissues in the human body. The research, scientists say, has the potential to produce treatments for a wide array of injuries and degenerative conditions that are disabling and can even be fatal.
However, such research has proven highly controversial because embryos are destroyed in the process of harvesting the stem cells.