The ISSCR, the largest professional organization of stem cell researchers from around the world, opposes the U.S. House of Representatives proposal to ban federal funding for fetal tissue research. ISSCR President Hans Clevers released the following statement:
“There is no scientific or ethical basis for the proposed restriction on fetal tissue research, which would roll back decades of consensus in the U.S., irreparably delaying the development of new medical treatments. Research using fetal tissue has saved millions of lives through the development of vaccines for diseases that once ravaged communities across the world. Polio is now almost eradicated, and rubella, measles, chickenpox, and rabies are all preventable diseases because of fetal tissue research.
“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. Fetal tissue is also being used to understand and to develop potential treatments for global public health problems such as Zika virus and HIV/AIDS. The proposal to eliminate the long-standing federal funding for this critical research will set back the development of potential therapies for these and other infectious diseases. This proposal should be rejected, like the similarly misguided proposal in the 2018 budget.”