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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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Senator Specter Introduces Fix to Stem Cell Ban
14 September 2010 3:40 pm
As Congress returned from recess yesterday, a long-time champion of biomedical research introduced the first proposal to override the 23 August court ruling that shut down federal funding for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) for 17 days and could soon halt research again.
Like some previous bills, Senator Arlen Specter (D–PA)'s bill (S. 3766) codifies the Obama Administration's policy requiring that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) fund work on only hESC lines derived from leftover embryos donated by couples at fertility clinics. But Specter's bill goes further by citing the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds to harm or destroy human embryos. Last month's preliminary injunction came after a federal judge found that NIH's stem cell guidelines violate the Dickey-Wicker rule. But the Specter bill states that Dickey-Wicker (which passes each year as part of the appropriations bill funding NIH) and any future similar amendments would not apply to hESC research:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including section 509 of division D of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 or any substantially similar provision in any previous or subsequent Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, the Secretary shall conduct and support research that utilizes human stem cells, including human embryonic stem cells.
Whether the bill would solve the Dickey-Wicker conundrum and negate Judge Royce Lamberth's ruling isn't yet clear. Expect more discussion of possible legislative solutions on Thursday at a hearing called by Senator Tom Harkin (D–IA), where NIH Director Francis Collins and hESC researchers will testify.
See our complete coverage of this issue.