US appeals court allows stem cell funding for now

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Thursday permitted US government funding of embryonic stem cell research to proceed for now, while it considers a judge's ruling that had temporarily shut off the funds.
Thursday's temporary court action may be a legal reprieve but not one for laboratories. The National Institutes of Health has suspended work to fund new research projects on embryonic stem cells, and while NIH did not immediately comment, observers say the scientific process needed to restart is unlikely before a final court decision.
"No way this would be a scientific reprieve," said Patrick Clemins of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The government is asking the appeals court in Washington to strike down a preliminary order by US District Judge Royce Lamberth blocking federal funding for some stem cell research.
The three-member appeals panel says it is suspending Lamberth's ruling for now. The appeals judges say they want more time to deal with issues in the government's appeal.