mcloudy.png
Wednesday September 18th, 2019 9:54AM

Trump halts fetal tissue research by government scientists

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration said Wednesday that it is ending medical research by government scientists that uses human fetal tissue,.

The Health and Human Services Department said in a statement that government-funded research by universities that involves fetal tissue can continue for now, subject to additional scrutiny — although it also ended one major university project that used the tissue to test HIV treatments. That school — University of California, San Francisco — called the decision "politically motivated."

Administration officials said the federal policy changes will not affect privately funded research.

Ending the use of fetal tissue by the National Institutes of Health has been a priority for anti-abortion activists, a core element of President Donald Trump's political base. A senior administration official said it was the president's call. The official wasn't authorized to publicly discuss internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

But research using fetal tissue has led to lifesaving advances , including development of vaccines for rubella and rabies and drugs to treat HIV. Scientists around the country denounced the decision, saying that fetal tissue was critically needed for research on HIV vaccines, treatments that harness the body's immune system to battle cancer, and other health threats, including some to fetuses themselves.

"Prohibiting valuable research that uses fetal 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. "It blocks important future research vital to the development of new therapies."

The government's own top medical scientist, NIH Director Francis Collins, said as recently as last December that he believes "there's strong evidence that scientific benefits come from fetal tissue research ," and that fetal tissue, rather than any alternatives, would "continue to be the mainstay" for certain types of research for the foreseeable future.

"Today, fetal tissue is still making an impact, with clinical trials underway using cells from fetal tissue to treat conditions including Parkinson's disease, ALS, and spinal cord injury," said Doug Melton, co-director of Harvard's Stem Cell Institute and president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

Last year, the administration announced a review of whether taxpayer dollars were being properly spent on fetal tissue research. As a result, NIH froze procurement of new tissue. On Wednesday, the administration also said it is not renewing an expiring contract with the University of California, San Francisco, that used fetal tissue to create a human-like immune system in mice for HIV research.

University Chancellor Sam Hawgood said in a statement that the Trump administration action ended a 30-year partnership with NIH. "UCSF exercised appropriate oversight and complied with all state and federal laws," said Hawgood. "We believe this decision to be politically motivated, shortsighted and not based on sound science."

HHS says it is trying to balance "pro-life" and "pro-science" imperatives.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said in a statement that the Trump administration has "once again done the right thing in restoring a culture of life to our government."

The Susan B. Anthony List, a group that works to elect lawmakers opposed to abortion, said in a statement that taxpayer funding ought to go to promoting alternatives to using fetal tissue in medical research. The NIH is funding a $20 million program to "develop, demonstrate, and validate experimental models that do not rely on human fetal tissue from elective abortions."

That idea got strong support from a Republican senator who oversees NIH funding.

"Today's action is a significant pro-life victory," Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said in a statement. NIH "has directed funding toward the development of alternative research methods that do not rely on human fetal tissue from elective abortions and I remain supportive of that effort."

But the scientific consensus is there is no adequate substitute for fetal tissues in some research areas. For example, to learn how the mosquito-borne Zika virus moves from a pregnant woman's bloodstream into her fetus and attacks the developing brain — and how to prevent that — requires studying fetal brain cells, neuroscientist Sally Temple of the Neural Stem Cell Institute in New York wrote in the journal Science this year.

"Despite the president's pledge to 'end the HIV epidemic,' today's announcement poses a direct threat to crucial research to find treatments for HIV and other health threats," Megan Donovan of the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights. "Ideologues should not be allowed to stand in for real doctors and scientists when the government is making decisions about lifesaving medicine."

The government has funded research using fetal tissue for decades, under administrations of both political parties.

Officials said there are currently at least three active federal research projects that involve human fetal tissue, and possibly as many as 12. Among university research projects funded by the government, officials said, fewer than 200 of 50,000 rely on human fetal tissue.

The International Society for Stem Cell Research questioned whether the new scrutiny that university projects will face will follow long-accepted ethical guidelines or instead block the research for ideological reasons.

Aside from the canceled UCSF contract, no university-led programs will be affected for the time being, the administration said. New projects that propose to use fetal tissue and current projects up for renewal will be subject to additional reviews.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Health, AP Business, AP Health - Women's health, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump halts fetal tissue research by government scientists
The Trump administration is ending medical research by government scientists that uses human fetal tissue, overriding the advice of scientists who say it has led to life-saving medical advances and handing abortion opponents a major victory
5:09PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Police investigate body found outside ex-lawmaker's home
Authorities in Arkansas say they're investigating as a homicide remains found outside the home of a former state senator who Republican Party officials say is dead
5:08PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Police thwarted by electronic doors during Virginia shooting
Police responding to the deadly mass shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal building were unable to confront the gunman at one point because they didn't have the key cards needed to open doors on the second floor
5:06PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
YouTube updates hate speech guidelines to prohibit videos
YouTube is updating its hate speech policies to prohibit videos with white supremacist and neo-Nazi content
4:30PM ( 43 minutes ago )
Colorado will leave house-sized boulder along highway
A boulder the size of a house that crashed onto a southwestern Colorado state highway last month will stay put
4:30PM ( 44 minutes ago )
Trump honors D-Day vets, discusses Vietnam deferment
President Donald Trump has joined world leaders to praise alliances and military service ahead of the anniversary of D-Day
4:24PM ( 49 minutes ago )
AP National News
Ohio doctor accused of murder in 25 patient deaths
An Ohio critical-care doctor has been arrested and charged with murder in the deaths of 25 hospital patients who authorities say were deliberately given overdoses of painkillers
3:16PM ( 1 hour ago )
White House downplays chance of deal to avert Mexico tariffs
White House officials are downplaying expectations ahead of a meeting Wednesday between the U.S. and Mexico over President Donald Trump's threatened tariffs on Mexican goods.
3:03PM ( 2 hours ago )
'Thank you': Queen honors D-Day veterans at moving ceremony
World leaders have gathered in Portsmouth as American and British paratroopers dropped into northwestern France and scaled Normandy cliffs, kicking off two days of D-Day commemorations
3:01PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Trump ends fetal tissue research by federal scientists
In victory for abortion foes, White House ends fetal tissue research by federal scientists
3:07PM ( 2 hours ago )
Government to start posting list of troubled nursing homes
The government says it'll start posting a list of some 400 troubled nursing homes, in a turnabout days after senators publicly released the "secret" document, along with a report questioning oversight of poor-quality facilities
2:55PM ( 2 hours ago )
Missouri official stresses safety over abortion access
Access for women seeking an abortion is important, but patient safety takes priority, Missouri's health department director said Wednesday
1:28PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Health
US officials warn of climate risk as Trump dismisses it
Senior U.S. officials have warned Congress about the threat to national security from melting ice in the Arctic
4:13PM ( 1 hour ago )
Bernie Sanders urges Walmart board to pay workers more
Bernie Sanders lambasts Walmart board for paying workers "starvation wages."
4:08PM ( 1 hour ago )
US stocks rise again, though energy shares slump with oil
Stocks moved broadly higher on Wall Street in afternoon trading Wednesday, on track to extend the market's strong gains from the previous day
3:50PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Judge: Doctor testimony not needed in Missouri abortion case
A St. Louis judge has ruled that testimony from non-staff doctors at Missouri's only abortion clinic will not be necessary for a hearing that will determine if the clinic can remain open
5:46PM ( 23 hours ago )
Missouri subpoenas abortion clinic doctors amid legal battle
Attorneys for the state of Missouri have subpoenaed physicians from the state's only abortion clinic amid a legal fight over the facility's license
3:28PM ( 1 day ago )
Judge says Missouri clinic can keep providing abortions
A Missouri judge issued an order Friday ensuring the state's only abortion clinic can continue providing the service, acting just hours before the St. Louis Planned Parenthood facility's license was set to expire
8:15AM ( 4 days ago )
AP Health - Women's health
Stocks extend rally following Fed chief signal on rates
Stocks extend rally into a second day, led by technology shares, as investors pounce on the Federal Reserve's rate cut signal
10:18AM ( 6 hours ago )
2020 hopeful Inslee: Build US foreign policy around climate
Democratic presidential hopeful Jay Inslee is arguing the U.S. must shape its foreign policy around a commitment to combat the climate crisis
8:14AM ( 9 hours ago )
Global markets rise on US Fed's signal on rate cuts
Global markets are up again after the Federal Reserve signaled it was ready to cut interest rates to support the U.S. economy against risks from trade conflicts
7:38AM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
CVS announces further expansion into health care services
CVS Health is pushing deeper into customer health again with plans to add dietitians, medical equipment and space for the occasional yoga class to 1,500 stores
9:00AM ( 1 day ago )
Senate report reveals nearly 400 troubled nursing homes
The federal government has been keeping secret the names of hundreds of nursing homes that had serious ongoing health or safety problems
12:23AM ( 1 day ago )
Long list of troubled nursing homes revealed by senators
List of some 400 troubled nursing homes nationwide kept under wraps by government officials
8:14PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Health Care
Police investigate body found outside ex-lawmaker's home
Authorities in Arkansas say they're investigating as a homicide remains found outside the home of a former state senator who Republican Party officials say is dead
5:08PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Police thwarted by electronic doors during Virginia shooting
Police responding to the deadly mass shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal building were unable to confront the gunman at one point because they didn't have the key cards needed to open doors on the second floor
5:06PM ( 7 minutes ago )
US measles count surpasses 1,000
This year's U.S. measles epidemic has surpassed 1,000 cases
5:06PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Mexican officials try to stave off tariffs at White House
Mexican officials arrived at the White House Wednesday for a high-level, face-to-face meeting, hoping for a deal to stave off President Donald Trump's threatened tariffs on Mexican goods flowing into the United States.
5:02PM ( 12 minutes ago )
US can label nuke waste as less dangerous to quicken cleanup
The U.S. government will reclassify some of the nation's most dangerous radioactive waste to lower its threat level
4:55PM ( 18 minutes ago )