ISSCR Opposes U.S. Ban on Federal Funding for Fetal Tissue Research - Updated 18 July, 2017

  • 17 July, 2017

The ISSCR opposes a provision of the U.S. House of Representatives Labor-HHS-Education FY18 Appropriations bill that would ban federal funding for fetal tissue research. In a letter sent to members of the House Committee on Appropriations, and signed by other scientific and medical organizations, the ISSCR says that, if enacted, this legislation would severely impede research that is necessary for the development of new treatments for a wide range of serious and incurable diseases. It would have a devastating effect on the future of biomedical advances and regenerative medicine.

“Research using human fetal tissue is invaluable to scientific and medical communities worldwide that study and work on human development and disease,” said ISSCR President Hans Clevers, MD, PhD, Utrecht University, NL. “It is crucial to understanding congenital defects in the heart and nervous system, and to learning how viruses like Zika affect human development, so that we can develop effective treatments,” he said.

Fetal tissue research has led to the development of vaccines against polio, rubella, measles, chickenpox, adenovirus, and rabies, as well as treatments for debilitating diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, and hemophilia. The ISSCR put together a portfolio of examples showing how the use of fetal tissue in biomedical research has led to therapies that have saved lives, and ways in which it continues to be necessary for medical advances.

“As a society, we cannot afford to restrict research that provides valuable insights and continues to advance treatments for some of the world’s most intractable diseases,” said Clevers. “A thoughtful statutory and ethical framework has been in place for decades that allows this research to take place; curtailing it now will delay new treatments and put at risk the health and lives of millions,” he said.

14 July, 2017 / Revised 18 July, 2017