March 09, 2009

President Lifts Restrictions on Stem Cell Research

On March 9, 2009, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) “Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Using Human Stem Cells that lifts the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The EO states that:
“The purpose of this order is to remove these limitations on scientific inquiry, to expand NIH support for the exploration of human stem cell research, and in so doing to enhance the contribution of America's scientists to important new discoveries and new therapies for the benefit of humankind.”
The EO directs the National Institues of Health to
review existing NIH guidance and other widely recognized guidelines on human stem cell research, including provisions establishing appropriate safeguards, and issue new NIH guidance within 120 days.

Also on March 9, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies assigning to the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy “the responsibility for ensuring the highest level of integrity in all aspects of the executive branch’s involvement with scientific and technological processes.” The OSTP Director, working with heads of of executive departments and agencies, is to develop, within 120 days, recommendations for Presidential action designed to guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch.