President Barack Obama's administration can fund embryonic stem-cell research while it appeals a decision banning government support for any activity using cells taken from human embryos, an appeals court said.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington today put on hold a ruling by District Judge Royce Lamberth during its review of the ban. The Justice Department argued that the judge's decision would cause irreparable harm to researchers, taxpayers and scientific progress.
Lifting the ban allows the government to temporarily continue funneling tens of millions of dollars to scientists seeking cures for diseases such as Parkinson's, spinal cord injuries, and genetic conditions. Embryonic stem cells can grow into any kind of tissue and may have the potential to accelerate a range of research.
"The purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the merits of the emergency motion for stay and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion," the appeals court wrote in its decision
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