Stem Cell Research: Science, Federal Research Funding, and Regulatory Oversight [January 17, 2012]   [open pdf - 372KB]

"On March 9, 2009, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13505, 'Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells.' The Obama executive order permits the Secretary of HHS [Health and Human Services] through NIH [National Institutes of Health] to 'support and conduct responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cell research, to the extent permitted by law' and directed NIH to review existing guidelines and 'issue new NIH guidance on such research' within 120 days of the date of the executive order. The Obama decision allows scientists to use federal funds for research using the many human embryonic stem cell lines that have been created since the Bush 2001 policy. The Obama policy also eliminates the need to separate federally funded research from research conducted with private funds on cell lines that were previously ineligible for federal funding under the Bush policy; this often required building new but duplicative laboratories under the Bush policy using funds that could have been spent on actual research. Draft NIH guidelines were released on April 23, 2009. Final guidelines were issued on July 6, 2009. The Obama decision allows scientists to use federal funds for research on stem cell lines 'that are posted on the new NIH Registry or they may establish eligibility by submitting an assurance of compliance' with the July 2009 guidelines. […] This report provides background information on stem cell research and its potential applications as well as a history of federal policy decisions related to research on human embryos and stem cells."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33540
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