The documents are all in for the government's appeal of a 23 August preliminary injunction that briefly shut down stem cell research. In a 35‑page reply brief filed yesterday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, government lawyers argue once again that U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth's ruling was erroneously based on the conclusion that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines for hESC research violate a law barring federally funded research that harms embryos.
NIH has consistently interpreted the law to allow for hESC research, the government argues. The brief also rebuts the argument by two researchers who filed the suit that the guidelines make it harder for them to win grants for research on adult stem cells. Theresa Deisher has never received an NIH grant, the brief notes, and James Sherley's four recent grant applications didn't pass the first stage of peer review and, thus, were never in competition with hESC grant proposals.
The appeals court has set 6 December for oral arguments. But Lamberth could rule earlier on the underlying case.