Barack Obama’s win is likely to be a time to celebrate for all the stem cell researcher and its supporters in the USA. They are viewing it as the golden opportunity for continue stem cell study further. Also they are hopeful of federal funding. Researchers are hopeful to be free from the federal restriction imposed during the Bush administration.

The restrictions, which have been in place since 1994, have been seen by many in the field as a stifling force. Though such research was still possible through private and state dollars, the creation of and experimentation on such lines quickly became taboo for many universities and other research centers under fear of scrutiny.The first hint of a policy change came Aug. 30 when the group Science Debate 2008 received a response to questions they posed to both the Obama and McCain campaigns regarding their positions on federal funds for stem cell research.

Daley, immediate past president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, says that, since the election, hopes have been high that the next four years could signal an era of greater flexibility for scientists in the field.Most researchers shared Daley’s enthusiasm. James Douglas Engel, professor and chair of the department of cell and developmental biology at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor hopes the next administration adopts the mainstream view of the majority of Americans: that stem cell research offers the best hope and potential for some of the desperately needed cures for currently untreatable diseases.

Others said that such a move could put the United States on pace with Israel, Australia, Canada, Japan and a number of Western European countries that have adopted flexible policies to push embryonic stem cell research.Dr. Paul Sanberg, director of the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair at the University of South Florida in Tampa said,

“Politically, this will have an important effect on providing an open policy for stem cell research in the U.S., and could help increase our country’s status as a leader in the field.”

However, not all agreed that such a reversal would have an immediate positive effect.Tim McCaffrey, director of The George Washington University Medical Center’s Catherine Birch McCormick Genomics Center in Washington, D.C. said,

“This is principally form over substance. The benefit to the health of the American public will result only from substantial and sustained increases to the NIH budget.Simply changing a particular regulation about the use of federal funds to create new lines will have no impact whatsoever when the funding to take advantage of stem cells is quite limited.”

What should and should not happen to embryos remains a source of intense debate. Embryos, which are balls of cells created by putting a sperm cell and an egg cell together and allowing the result to divide, are valuable to researchers because they represent a source of undifferentiated cells not programmed to be any type of cell in particular.In essence, an embryonic stem cell is a blank check; scientists hope we will eventually be able to control the development of these cells, making them into whatever tissues are needed.

Dr. Neil Theise, an adult stem cell researcher and professor of pathology and medicine at the Beth Israel Medical Center of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said that a lifting of the embryonic stem cell research ban would “lift the need for political opposition to adult stem cell research, as well” and have benefits across the board for all forms of stem cell research.

But others believe that opening the gates to federal funds could have the exact opposite effect, actually decreasing the amount of money available to researchers. They feel unless there is a boost in funding for this research at the NIH, it is highly likely that funding for currently allowed research will actually decrease as the pool of funds gets diluted by new applications. Overall funding for stem cell research in our country could decrease if the states feel less inclined to fund their own stem cell initiatives in a downward economy, thinking that the federal government is now funding all stem cell research.

Source: ABC News