ISSCR Statement on NIH Human Fetal Tissue Ethics Advisory Board Report

  • 18 August, 2020
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The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), the largest professional organization of stem cell researchers from around the world has serious reservations with the recommendations from the NIH Human Fetal Tissue Ethics Advisory Board. Research using human fetal tissue has a long history of improving human health and should be allowed to proceed with public support. ISSCR President Christine Mummery released the following statement:

“The evaluation process for research should be insulated from ideology and special interests. It is disheartening to see an ethics review perverted by an administration seeking to achieve a policy goal, a near ban on research with human fetal tissue. The Ethics Advisory Board was dominated by individuals who have opposed research using human fetal tissue. This is a stark departure from the traditional objective review process that evaluates the scientific merit and ethical rigor of proposals.”

“At a time when the US and the world should be employing every biomedical research avenue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, a crucial tool for investigating viral diseases has been blocked by special interests. Crucial advances in biomedical research will be slowed because of the American restrictions on research using human fetal tissue. People may die unnecessarily because the administration has allowed an ideological special interest group to hijack biomedical research.”

In July 2020, the ISSCR sent the NIH Human Fetal Tissue Ethics Advisory Board a letter signed by 90 scientific, medical, and patient organizations that explained the importance of fetal tissue research.