But he is concerned that a ban or heavy restrictions on federally funded experiments with fetal tissue could harm research, particularly on human development, organ regeneration and determining whether tissue created from stem cells recapitulates the real thing. Studies of fetal tissue “really can’t be replaced with animal research”, he says.
Goldstein adds that the fetal tissue used in research is material that would otherwise be discarded. “Scientists are simply asking, if you’re going to throw the tissue away anyway, can you at least donate it to important medical research?”
Renate Myles, a spokeswoman for the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), which sits within the HHS, says that the agency does not have any standing contracts with any providers of human fetal tissue. “We agree that it is important that research involving human fetal tissue should be consistent with the statutes and regulation governing such research, and reminded NIH-funded institutions that awards are conditioned upon compliance of all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations,” she says.