ABC News' Ariane de Vogue (@arianedevogue) reports:
A federal judge today threw out a lawsuit that challenged the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research.
The White House was quick to praise the ruling, "Today, patients suffering from diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and heart disease and their families got good news when a federal judge ruled in favor of the government in a lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration’s work to support stem cell research," Assistant to the President Stephanie Cutter said in a blog posting.
The lawsuit was brought by a group of plaintiffs including Drs. James Sherley and Theresa Deisher, scientists who use only adult stem cells in their research and who say the funding using embryonic stem cells would compete with funding necessary to complete their research.
Last year Judge Lamberth temporarily blocked the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research finding that the scientists challenging the funding had a likely chance of succeeding in their lawsuit. But Lamberth was reversed by a three judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The appeals court ruled in favor of the Obama administration that argued that no embryos are actually destroyed with federal funds and that the monies only pay for research conducted under strict ethical guidelines on derived stem cells.
The appeals court found that the NIH had reasonably concluded that while federal law bans federal funding for the destructive act of deriving cells from an embryo "it does not prohibit" funding a research project in which human embryonic cells will be used.
Today Lamberth ruled on the merits of the case.
He said he was bound by the appeals court conclusion and ruled that the NIH's conclusion that embryonic stem cell research is not research in which a human embryo or embryos are subjected to risk of injury or death "is based upon permissible construction" of federal law and is "entitled to deference. "
Cutter called the ruling "a step in the right direction" and said,
"For too long, patients and families have suffered from debilitating, incurable diseases and we know that stem cell research offers hope to millions of Americans across the country."