For years, Big Biotech and its enablers worked to destroy the modest Bush embryonic stem cell funding limitations. Then, with the election of President Obama, they got their way. But are they happy? No. The new proposed NIH rules for funding ESCR would not permit researchers to create embryos solely for purposes of research on the government’s dime, and that has them grousing in the Washington Post. From the story:
When President Obama lifted restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research in March, many scientists hailed the move as a long-awaited boost for one of the most promising fields of medical research.
Since then, however, many proponents have concluded that the plan could have the opposite effect, putting off-limits for federal support much of the research underway, including work that the Bush administration endorsed. “We’re very concerned,” said Amy Comstock Rick, chief executive of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, which has been leading the effort to free up more federal funding for stem cell research. “If they don’t change this, very little current research would be eligible. It’s a huge issue.”…
Opponents of embryonic stem cell research criticized the proposal for allowing any expansion of federal funding for the work, arguing that adult stem cells and other types of cells offer more promising and more morally acceptable alternatives. But they were relieved that the NIH proposal did not go further by, for example, allowing the funding for stem cells obtained from embryos created specifically for research or by using cloning techniques.
Some proponents of stem cell research, meanwhile, were disappointed that the guidelines limited funding to lines created from unused embryos that otherwise would be discarded by infertility clinics. Initially, however, proponents were pleased that the proposal would allow funding of studies on the hundreds of new lines already in existence.
After studying the guidelines further, however, they concluded that, in their current form, the guidelines would severely restrict funding for the existing lines. “They take 2009 standards and attempt to apply them retroactively, which isn’t really a standard that would allow most of the preexisting lines to be acceptable for NIH funding,” said George Q. Daley of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. “This is essentially moving the goal post.”
It is never enough. And mark my words, just as the scientists’ promise that “all we want are embryos that are going to be discarded anyway” is now inoperable, so too will be their current assurances that all they want are early embryos for research and experimentation. The real game that is afoot here is fetal farming, which is already being supported in a few bioethical circles
Of course “the scientists” will get the changes they want from the NIH.