Halfway through February the Swiss National Fund instituted a national program for stem cell research and regenerative medicine, providing 10 million Swiss francs (6,766,000 euros) in financing over 5 years. In November, a decision will be made about projects that have been proposed; in January 2010 projects that have been approved could get underway. The objective is to favor basic research into stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, to gain a better understanding of this process internationally.
At the end of 2004, Swiss citizens approved a law allowing the use of excess embryonic stem cells from medically assisted fertilization, in a referendum. However, researchers said that overly restrictive regulations made the embryos available to be used in research insufficient. Politicians aware of the criticisms included liberal senator Felix Gutzwiller, who is willing to promote improvements, which will require legislative and constitutional modifications. The Green Party and religiously affiliated parties are both expected to strongly oppose these changes.