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Earlier this week President Obama signed an executive order lifting the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. In his speech made to the American people, he explained that scientific decisions must be “based on facts, not ideology.”

Back in 2001, President Bush moved to restrict federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, making it the subject of his first prime-time televised speech from the White House. Now, Obama has flipped the tables with one swipe of the pen, a prospect that pleases many Democrats in the Congress. "Signing this executive order sends a clear signal around the world that our nation supports research based on science, not politics," said Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island, a strong backer of stem cell research.

While the Left argue that stem-cell research offers hope for millions of people suffering with debilitating conditions, right-to-life groups hotly oppose this move by the President because they equate it to murder.

This is clearly a very controversial topic. But for the time being, President Obama’s reversal this week of President Bush’s anti-embryonic stem cell policy has turned to the side of science and medicine. And while there is considerable uncertainty as to the ultimate benefits from embryonic stem-cells, companies involved in this research are going to clearly reap the benefits of this change in leadership and policy for at least the next four years.

There are only a limited number of stocks which are pure plays or semi-pure plays in the stem cell industry. However, with the reversal of this ban, this could become a very huge industry. The following list includes stocks that investors should keep on their radars.

Aastrom Biosciences (NASDAQ:ASTM) - Aastrom Biosciences is involved in the development of cell products for the regeneration or repair of human tissues, based on its proprietary Tissue Repair Cell [TRC] technology.

Advanced Cell Technology (ACTC) - ACTC is involved in the development and marketing of human stem cell technology in the area of regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALXN) - Alexion Pharmaceuticals is involved in the development of biologic therapeutic products for the treatment of hematologic and cardiovascular disorders, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.

ARIAD Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARIA) - Ariad is involved in the development of medicines for the treatment of cancer by regulating cell signaling with small molecules. Their cancer products are used to treat sarcomas, hormone refractory prostate cancer, and endometrial cancer.

BioTime, Inc. (BTIM) - BioTime develops blood plasma volume expanders and blood replacement solutions for hypothermic (low temperature) surgery, and organ preservation solutions and technology for use in surgery, emergency trauma treatment, and other applications.

Celera Group (NASDAQ:CRA) - This NYSE company, founded in 1937, is involved in the discovery and validation of new diagnostic markers, using proprietary genomics and proteomics discovery platforms and diagnostic products based on those markers.

Cellgene (NASDAQ:CELG) - Cellgene is involved in the discovery, production, and marketing of therapies designed to treat cancer and immune-inflammatory-related diseases. Their primary product includes THALOMID, for the treatment of erythema nodosum leprosum. Last year, the company received patent on placental stem cell recovery.

Cord Blood America Inc. (OTCPK:CBAI) - CBAI provides private cord blood stem cell preservation services to families in the United States. The company also engages in the collection, testing, processing, and preservation of peripheral blood and adipose tissue stem cells, which allows individuals to privately preserve their stem cells for potential future use in stem cell therapy.

Dendreon Corporation (NASDAQ:DNDN) - This company is involved in the discovery, development, and marketing of active immunotherapies, monoclonal antibodies, and small molecule product candidates to treat cancer. They manufacture the DACSÒSC stem cell enrichment device.

Geron (NASDAQ:GERN) - This Menlo Park, California company develops cell-based therapies derived from human embryonic stem cell platforms for treatment of various diseases.

Integra Lifesciences Holdings (NASDAQ:IART) - Integra develops, manufactures, and sells medical devices, implants, biomaterials, and instruments to the neurosurgery, surgery, and soft tissue repair markets.

Invitrogen Corporation (IVGN) - Invitrogen sells products and services which support academic and government research institutions, pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies, including tools for gene acquisition, gene cloning, gene expression,

StemCells Inc. (NASDAQ:STEM) - This Palo Alto company is involved in the discovery and development of adult stem cell therapeutics for treating damage to the central nervous system, liver, and pancreas.

Disclosure: no positions

Source: Reversal of Stem Cell Research Ban: 13 Stocks to Benefit