Last week, the Trump administration issued guidance imposing restrictions on federal use of fetal tissue. The guidance immediately cancels an existing contract to procure fetal tissue with the University of California, San Francisco and ceases intramural NIH research (research done by NIH on-staff researchers). Currently funded research is unaffected, but when those grants come up for renewal, new research will be subject to additional scrutiny by a newly created review board before funding. This review board will have wide discretion to deny funding.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is working in coalition with other organizations on the issue, including offering input on an amendment to legislation neutralizing the Trump administration’s guidance. The amendment, spearheaded by Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI), will allow scientists to continue the development of important biomedical discoveries which cannot be obtained by other means for diseases that impact us all, including Parkinson’s disease.
Access to human tissues is essential to furthering development of preventions, treatments and cures for a wide range of diseases, including Parkinson’s. Public policies must promote research freedom and allow scientists to conduct research using these tissues in a responsible, ethical manner. Government guidance that restricts this research could obstruct biomedical breakthroughs.
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