Wicker Amendment.16 In August 2010, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and issued a preliminary injunction ordering HHS to cease funding research using hES cells. The Obama administration appealed this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which resulted, in September 2010, in a preliminary stay of the injunction and then, in April 2011, its reversal. Following this decision, in July 2011, the underlying case was decided in District Court in favor of the Obama administration. This ruling has been appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and as of this writing, a final decision is being awaited.
Thus the past 15 years have seen continuing uncertainty regarding the federal government’s willingness to fund research using hES cells—an ongoing disappointment to those scientists and other citizens who believe the nation is foregoing a highly promising opportunity to relieve human suffering. Given that the federal government has traditionally been the largest source of funding for biomedical research outside of industry and the largest funder of basic research, it appeared to some that the United States was foregoing an important opportunity to be a pioneer in developing the basic research necessary to produce critical new clinical applications. Within industry itself, the uncertainty surrounding both state and federal policies on this research also has produced some hesitancy to enter this research arena. It was in this context that a broad group of California-based scientists, leaders in California higher education, disease advocates, and others mounted the Proposition 71 initiative.
Since the early years of this century, when the campaign for CIRM was energetically under way, a great deal of progress has been made in stem cell research. In particular, the increased ability to reprogram adult cells has made the field of regenerative medicine somewhat less dependent on hES cells, a development that is fully reflected both in CIRM’s programs and the field of regenerative medicine worldwide. Indeed, this is one of the key factors that CIRM has considered in updating its strategic plan. These issues are discussed more fully in Chapter 4.
The remainder of this report presents the results of the committee’s response to its statement of task (Box 1-1), including its findings, conclusions, and recommendations; Table 1-1 shows where in the report each element of the statement of task is addressed. Chapter 2 provides an overview of the process by which CIRM was created and the committee’s assessment of what can be learned from this history, as well as the impact of the Insti-
16Sherely et al. v. Sebelius et al., 686 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2009).