Editor's note: This blog is an update to a post that was originally published on Thursday, November 29, 2018.
The Congressional Oversight and Government Reform Committee today held a hearing exploring alternatives to fetal tissue research, amidst reports that federal funding for fetal tissue research may be withdrawn. In advance of the hearing, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) submitted a letter to committee members in support of research freedom (read the letter). The Foundation also joined over 60 medical and scientific groups in signing a coalition letter on the importance of fetal tissue research (read the letter). Previously, MJFF participated in a "listening session" on fetal tissue research held by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C.
MJFF again strongly affirmed its belief in the inherent value of scientific freedom, and in patients' right to expect that every promising therapeutic approach will be thoroughly and responsibly investigated to accelerate the development of improved treatments and cures. Fetal tissue studies (and related regenerative approaches) have fundamentally contributed to the advancement of Parkinson's research since the 1990s; it is impossible to know what future discoveries may be missed in the event of a withdrawal of federal funding. The Foundation commends Congress and HHS for taking a thoughtful and serious approach this issue, and urges policymakers to remain committed to helping research freedom flourish for the benefit of the millions of Americans living with illness and injury.