Published: Sat, June 08, 2019
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Trump ends funding for medical research using human foetal tissue

Trump ends funding for medical research using human foetal tissue

During the audit and review process, the agency had temporarily been extending a contract with the University of California San Francisco that involved research using fetal tissue.

As for future aborted-tissue research that applies for federal funding but takes place outside NIH, "an ethics advisory board will be convened to review the research proposal and recommend whether, in light of the ethical considerations, NIH should fund the research project-pursuant to a law passed by Congress". Officials pointed to the decision as an example of the administration's broader pro-life agenda.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it was ending a $2 million a year contract with UCSF for research that began in 2013 and involves tissue from elective abortions.

The research has been a point of contention with pro-life activists, who say funding should go to promoting research that doesn't use fetal tissue.

"Today's Administration action on government contracts for human fetal tissue sends a strong message in defense of human dignity".

"During the remainder of the Trump Administration I would not put high odds on any outsider getting NIH funding for research with fetal tissue", said Greely. Dozens of pro-life leaders and House members successfully pressured the FDA and HHS to terminate the contract, but concerns remained over almost $100 million in tax dollars that continued to pay for other research using tissue and organs from aborted babies.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has championed several policies to restrict abortion both in the United States and overseas.


"Prohibiting valuable research that uses foetal tissue that is otherwise going to be discarded doesn't make any sense", said Dr Lawrence Goldstein, a regenerative medicine specialist at the University of California, San Diego.

"President Trump knows we can do better as a nation and we are encouraged to see NIH Director Francis Collins carry out the President's pro-life commitment". Opponents, however, say that newer methods, including the use of thymus tissue from newborn infants who undergo heart surgeries, appear promising. But scientists have defended its use, pointing out that fetal tissue research has been essential to developing therapies that have saved millions of lives.

Any National Institutes of Smartly being (NIH) study that requires acquiring recent foetal tissue will now no longer be performed beneath the policy exchange. The university's chancellor, Sam Hawgood, said the decision was "politically motivated, short-sighted and not based on sound science". Giroir told scientists that, at least for grants and contracts for researchers employed by academic and other nongovernmental labs, there would be no interruption in funding, as long as experiments comply with the ethical guidelines of their universities and the federal government, according to a participant.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said the announcement is another demonstration of the Trump administration's vision of "restoring a Culture of Life to our government".

It was not immediately clear how many projects would be affected by the new restrictions.

For grants and contracts in nongovernmental research laboratories, no other funding of fetal tissue research will be interrupted.

Advanced Bioscience Resources's contract, which was worth almost $16,000, was used to "develop testing protocols", by injecting the tissue into lab mice, according to HHS. New projects that propose to use fetal tissue and current projects up for renewal will be subject to additional reviews.

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