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Fetal tissue ethics board recommends withholding government funds from 13 of 14 proposed projects

Two board members claimed the group is weighted with members who have openly expressed opposition to all forms of human fetal tissue research.

Published: August 18, 2020 6:19pm

Updated: August 18, 2020 7:58pm

A newly formed advisory board tasked with considering the ethics of potential government grants pertaining to fetal tissue research has recommended against funding 13 out of 14 proposed projects.

The results were released in a report from the Human Fetal Tissue Ethics Advisory Board.

The 15-member board recommended that the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services withhold funding on a number of projects because members did not believe the projects justified the use of human fetal tissue (HFT). 

For one project, the board recommended that the secretary "not withhold funds for this research proposal." One  unidentified board member cited that a strength in that project "was that the investigators are planning to use preexisting HRT stored in a biorepository and collected according to guidelines, with no need to acquire additional tissue for the planned studies. If successful, the research will obviate the need for HFT in future models," the report states. 

Two board members asked to include a dissent because they claimed the board is weighted with members who have openly expressed opposition to all forms of human fetal tissue research. 

"This board was clearly constituted ...so as to include a large majority of members who are on the public record as being opposed to human fetal tissue research of any type," the dissent states.

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