The Genetics Policy Institute (GPI) has submitted an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, supporting federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The plaintiffs in the Sherley suit are trying to stop the government from funding such research, and as a result to hinder a field of research that offers the possibility of revolutionizing medicine. The plaintiffs claim that federal funding is prohibited by a statute known as the Dickey-Wicker Amendment.

GPI's brief shows that the plaintiffs are misinterpreting the Amendment. It analyzes the language of Dickey-Wicker in detail and shows that the statute is most naturally read to permit federal funding of stem cell research, as long as the funding is not used to pay for the actual derivation of stem cells.

Bernard Siegel, GPI's executive director, said, "GPI's brief presents an extensive analysis of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment's text and makes arguments that were not before the court when it issued a preliminary injunction last month. We think that those arguments make it very clear that the opponents of embryonic stem cell research funding are misreading the statute."

Under the court's procedures, the brief was submitted along with a motion asking the court to accept the amicus filing. The parties to the lawsuit have said they do not oppose GPI's request to participate in the case as an amicus and a ruling on GPI's motion is expected shortly.

Siegel also said, "We are very grateful to our counsel, Neal Goldfarb of the law firm of Butzel Long Tighe Patton, PLLC in Washington, D.C. for his efforts in writing the brief." The memorandum will be available at the GPI web site.

GPI's mission is to promote and defend stem cell research and its application in medicine to develop therapeutics and cures for many otherwise intractable diseases and disorders. GPI pursues this mission through production of its flagship annual World Stem Cell Summit, publication of the World Stem Cell Report, special projects, speaking engagements, teaching initiatives and strategic collaborations.

The 2010 World Stem Cell Summit takes place October 4-6, at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center and is co-organized by the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University and the State of Michigan.

Source:
Genetics Policy Institute

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