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Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks New Embryonic Stem Cell Guidelines

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MADISON, Wis. (WTAQ) - A federal judge’s ruling could bring UW-Madison’s embryonic stem cell research to a halt.

Judge Royce Lamberth has temporarily blocked the Obama administration’s guidelines to expand embryonic studies into possible cures for debilitating diseases. He said it would let a Christian group bring forth a lawsuit that accuses Obama of promoting unfair competition for funds to conduct studies by two Boston doctors that use adult stem cells which don’t involve embryos.

Timothy Kamp of the UW Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center says the judge’s ruling is more restrictive than what former President Bush put in place a decade ago. Bush banned federal funds to develop new embryonic stem cell lines – but he allowed funding for cell lines which existed at the time. And private funding of embryonic research was still allowed.

But Kamp says Monday’s ruling could affect all those studies – and he’s not sure if he’ll have to stop projects that have already been funded. He said he would wait for guidance from the National Institutes of Health.

The agency had approved 75 embryonic stem cell lines for federal funding as of Monday. Five of those were created at UW-Madison.

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