An 8-year-old measure that greatly limited the use of federal dollars for embryonic stem-cell research ended when President Barack Obama officially signed an executive order lifting the ban. Additionally, the president promised to vigorously support the scientific community in its research efforts.
When governments fail to make these investments, opportunities are missed, Obama said. The signing marks the completion of a campaign promise made by Obama, one highly anticipated and widely cheered by the medical research community.
Darrell Kirch, president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges, lauded the move, saying that millions of Americans could benefit from the scientific and medical breakthroughs that may result from this extremely promising research.
Use of embryonic stem cells has been called troublesome by some because under the process, embryos are destroyed. Obama acknowledged the controversy, calling it a difficult and delicate balance. He added that the scientific work would be done under strict guidelines, rigorously enforced. The president also called upon his science and technology chief to develop a directive that would guide the scientific process in a way meant to steer away from politics and ideology.