The Obama administration can continue funding embryonic stem cell research for now, a federal appeals court ruled.
Tuesday's ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington makes permanent, for the time being, the overturning of an injunction imposed last month by a lower court judge.
The scientific community was stunned when U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ordered a temporary halt to embryonic stem cell research while he considered a lawsuit filed by two scientists who study adult stem cells. The scientists say the Obama administration's stem cell research policy violates an existing congressional ban on research that harms human embryos.
But a federal appeals court earlier this month temporarily lifted the injunction to give the administration time to make its case that even a temporary halt to the research could set back promising science.
The argument apparently succeeded. Now research funded with federal dollars can proceed pending a full appeal of the lower court judge's ruling.