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As a result of the appellate ruling Friday, the original lawsuit can continue before Judge Lamberth, but the taxpayer-funded research also will go on. Lamberth hasn’t thus far either held a trial or issued a final ruling, which he could do based on court filings without taking testimony.

NIH Director Francis Collins called the ruling momentous, “not only for science, but for the hopes of thousands of patients and their families who are relying on NIH-funded scientists to pursue life-saving discoveries and therapies that could come from stem cell research.”

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Associated Press writer Pete Yost contributed to this report.