Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research is safe for now. The Supreme Court won't hear a challenge to the funding, it said today, giving no comment on the matter. "This is good news for patients," said a statement from the Association of American Medical Colleges. "With the legislative, regulatory and legal barriers cleared, we hope the promise of hESC (human embryonic stem cell) research can now be realized."
The challenge had been brought by a pair of researchers who use only adult stem cells in their work, LiveScience notes. They sought to bar funding embryonic stem cell research, noting that federal law bans creating or destroying embryos. That law stands, but federal money can fund research on stem cells privately extracted from embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization processes. The researchers' challenge prompted a 2010 injunction against federally-backed hESC work. After the injunction was nixed, the case went to the high court.