On October 18, 2011, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that a patent could not be issued for any process that resulted in destroying a human embryo. The case originated from a German patent for a method of converting embryonic stem cells into nerve cells. The ruling limits the use of embryonic stem cells for the treatment of diseases, and some felt it could hinder medical research in Europe. In March 2009, US President Barack Obama signed an executive order lifting the restriction on the use of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
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