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Scientists are decrying new ethics criteria proposed by the National Institutes of Health for human embryonic stem cell research, saying the new guidelines would make it harder to work with stem cells than it was during the Bush years, according to this Washington Post story.

Among President Obama’s first acts in office was to lift the federal funding ban on stem cell research that had been a hallmark of George W. Bush’s administration. This was especially good news in San Diego, one of the worldwide hubs for stem cell research.

However, as the Post reports, new regulations could make most of the federal support already underway off limits. This has many stem cell experts, including one from San Diego, speaking out. Here is a snippet from the Post story:

The concern focuses on strict new ethics criteria that the National Institutes of Health has proposed. Advocates of stem cell research say that most of the work currently underway passed close ethical scrutiny but that the procedures varied and usually did not match the details specified in the proposed new guidelines.

“It’s not that past practices were shoddy,” said Lawrence S. Goldstein, director of the stem cell program at the University of California at San Diego. “But they don’t necessarily meet every letter of the new guidelines moving forward. We’d have to throw everything out and start all over again.”

DAVID WASHBURN

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