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Judge blocks stem cell research funding

An associate research specialist prepares stem cells for culture in Madison, Wis.c

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

BOB MOON: A U.S. district judge has put a hold on federal funding for stem cell research involving human embryos. The decision could affect labs that count on hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding. Marketplace's Amy Scott joins us live from Baltimore. Good morning, Amy, bring us up to date -- the Obama administration had allowed federal funding of stem cell research. Did the judge overturn that?

AMY SCOTT: Right. That was one of President Obama's first acts when he took office. He changed the guidelines so that funding could go to research using stem cells from embryos that had already been destroyed. But critics say that skirted a 1996 law that bans federal funding for research that involves destroying human embryos. Yesterday U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth agreed, ruling that the practice still broke the law.

MOON: So, what does this mean for all the stem cell research that's currently going on?

SCOTT: Well, it throws into question hundreds of millions of dollars in funding. It's not clear whether the Obama administration will appeal. And supporters of this research say that stem cells from embryos have enormous promise for treating chronic diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer's. Researchers will still be able to get private funding. But without that federal money, some scientists are saying this will effectively halt most embryonic stem cell research.

MOON: Marketplace's Amy Scott live in Baltimore, thank you.

SCOTT: You're welcome.

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