The US president will today announce the lifting of restrictions on taxpayers money for embryonic stem cell research.
It reverses the policy of Barack Obama’s predecessor George Bush. Stem cells can be turned into any type of human cell such as muscle, bone or nerve. Supporters of the research say their use could treat sufferers of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as diabetics such as Tim Ryan. “We’ve lost eight years already. We’re just excited to see the research finally getting a chance to prove itself or not,” said Ryan. Under the Bush administration researchers were forced to separate their private and government-funded work, an expensive process that required separate labs and equipment. That is to change overnight. Dr. George Daley of the Boston Childrens’ Hospital welcomed Obama’s decision, saying: “This is going to make an immediate difference. It’s going to energise us and it’s going to make available to scientists nearly a thousand new stem cell lines that we haven’t been able to use for the last eight years.” Critics say the technique is unethical as embryos have to be destroyed to provide stem cells. But Obama made a campaign pledge to expand the research, saying Bush’s restrictions handcuffed scientists and made the country less competitive.