Two more developments have taken place in the past week regarding the preliminary injunction handed down by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia judge Royce Lamberth in the case of Sherley v. Sebelius that prohibits use of federal funds for use in human embryonic stem cell research.
On Monday, the National Institutes of Health ordered that all intramural human embryonic stem cell research be immediately halted. According to NIH Director Francis Collins, this will shutter eight unique projects with combined budgets of $9.5 million.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an emergency motion requesting a stay of Lamberth’s ruling. In the motion, the government argues the Dickey-Wicker amendment, barring use of federal funds for destruction of human embryos, on which the preliminary injunction is based is much narrower in scope than interpreted by Lamberth and that Congress’s repeated approval of federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research is inconsistent with his viewpoint.
In addition, the government also intends to demonstrate that the ruling will cause irreparable harm to both scientists and patients and that the balance of public interest, therefore, leans toward lifting the injunction.
Collins filed an adjoining affidavit describing the devastating effect of the ruling on both the biomedical research community and patients set to receive the benefits of human embryonic stem cell research. The motion requests that a decision be reached by Tuesday, Sept. 7.
The DOJ also announced that it would file an appeal of the preliminary injunction with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.