NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins spoke with the media Tuesday afternoon about Monday’s federal district court injunction that halted federally funded human embryonic stem cell research. Collins said that the decision “pours sand in the engine of discovery.” He noted that there are 50 grant applications in the initial peer review queue that have been pulled and will not be reviewed, and about 12 grant applications totaling $15-20 million that were scheduled for council review in September also have been pulled from further consideration. Collins said there are 22 grants ($54 million) that were scheduled for renewal in September that will not be funded.

The NIH also reported that a scheduled meeting to consider new stem cell lines submitted for addition to the NIH stem cell registry has been cancelled. Existing grants not up for renewal that have been paid already will be allowed to continue based on a preliminary interpretation of the decision by the Department of Justice. Collins said the Justice Department has indicated that the decision and injunction also would bar all lines on the Bush stem cell registry. He added that more information will be posted soon on the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts and NIH Stem Cell Information websites.