Commentary: Obama puts medical research back on track

This editorial appeared in The Kansas City Star.

President Barack Obama advanced the causes of medical research and good sense on Monday.

He reversed President George W. Bush's illogical executive order that limited federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research to just a few cell lines.

Bush's order held back research that scientists believe will lead to a better understanding of diseases – and eventually to treatments and cures. Bush said the government should not pay for research that involves the destruction of human embryos.

But the embryos in question are the products of fertility procedures. If not used for those procedures, they are either frozen indefinitely or destroyed.

Jim and Virginia Stowers, founders of Kansas City's Stowers Institute for Medical Research, witnessed Obama's signing of his executive order in the White House on Monday. The invitation to them was a fitting tribute to their commitment to seeking cures.

Researchers at the institute primarily use endowment monies, not federal grants. But because researchers build upon one another's work, Stowers' scientists will benefit from the increased opportunities created by Obama's order.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.