Durham, North Carolina, August 27, 2010 — The Journal STEM CELLS® has published many important and exciting achievements in the field of stem cells during its twenty-eight year history. Through scientific discovery, the Journal reports on both adult and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). The Journal believes that the scientific community benefits from research on all stem cell types in order to maximize our basic biological knowledge and our ability to fight debilitating human diseases. Therefore, we applauded the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July when it approved the first authorized clinical trials using hESCs to treat spinal cord injury. This decision encouraged researchers, clinicians, and patients alike.
Unfortunately, this week the Federal District Court (FDC) in Washington, DC issued a decision that blocks federal funding for hESC research. “We believe this is a retrograde step and that governmental support for all types of stem cells is warranted,” said Dr. Martin J. Murphy, Jr., Executive Editor of STEM CELLS®. Human embryonic stem cell research is important, since it helps researchers understand early human development, improve drug screening, and may develop regenerative medicine. The decision issued by Judge Royce Lambreth will have a detrimental impact on research in the United States and worldwide, since hESCs are the only cells that can differentiate into more than 200 different cell types found in the adult human body. “Therefore we believe that research using previously approved NIH hESC lines should continue without prejudice. This research has been always been based on ethical scientific facts and, as such, they are essential in our efforts to treat a variety of illnesses,” said Dr. Miodrag Stojkovic, Editor of STEM CELLS®