National Stem Cell Policy

On March 9, 2009, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13505, entitled Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells that reversed the limitations on federally funded human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research to lines created before August 9, 2001. 

The Executive Order did not permit the creation or destruction of human embryos using federal funds and also called for the NIH to issue a new policy for management of this within 120 days. 

The new NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research were released in final form on July 7, 2009 (Fed Register 74, No. 128, pages 32170-32175, July 7, 2009). 

Those guidelines were based on the National Academies of Sciences recommendations and contained criteria for hESC line inclusion that were much more strict than the criteria employed at the time of approval of the “Bush hESC lines”.   As of June 14, 2012, 163 hESC lines had been approved by the Advisory Committee to the [NIH] Director for inclusion in the NIH human ESC Registry.

The March 9, 2009 Executive Order changed the way the National Institutes of Health (NIH) can support and conduct human stem cell research. The Health and Human Services Secretary is required to review existing NIH and other widely recognized guidelines on human stem cell research and issue new NIH guidance within 120 days of the date of the order.

The Executive Order also revokes two items:

For More on the Executive Order: