Trump administration launches sweeping review of fetal-tissue research

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The US Department of Health and Human Services has cancelled a government contract for fetal tissue and will examine “all research involving human fetal tissue”.

The US government is reviewing research that involves fetal tissue, such as these lung cells.

The US government has cancelled its US$15,900 contract with a company that supplies fetal tissue to researchers at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which oversees the FDA, is reviewing “all research involving fetal tissue” and “all acquisitions involving human fetal tissue”, it said on 24 September.

The FDA had awarded the one-year contract in July to Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR), a non-profit tissue supplier in Alameda, California. According to the contract, FDA researchers would implant the human fetal tissue provided by the company into mice that lacked immune systems. The goal was to give the animals human-like immune systems, so that FDA researchers could use the mice to evaluate the safety and efficacy of various drugs.

In its statement, the HHS said that it cancelled the contract because it “was not sufficiently assured that the contract included the appropriate protections applicable to fetal tissue research or met all other procurement requirements”.

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