Restrictions on federal funding to existing stem cell lines passed by President George W. Bush in 2001 are getting results, and pro-life groups are celebrating. The bulk of funding for stem cell research grants is shifting in California and Maryland, the Washington Times reports.
The shift is moving toward "ethical" research that does not use human embryos.
The shift looks like a sea change from when state funding strongly favored research from embryonic stem cells over "adult" stem cells, which are taken from the placenta, umbilical cord and some mature tissues and do not kill human embryos.
However, the hunt for cures for diseases, along with federal and private funding for embryonic stem cell research, virtually guarantees that embryonic stem cell research and the moral battles over it are likely to continue for the foreseeable future. […]
Stem cells excite scientists because they are regenerative — self-renewing — and have the potential to be grown into any type of cell. This has led many people to believe stem cell therapies one day will cure or treat many conditions, including blindness, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, heart disease and spinal cord injuries.
The dispute in stem cell research is over cells taken from human embryos, the stage of human development that follows fertilization.