FASEB Statement Opposing Trump Administration’s Policy Limiting Human Fetal Tissue Research

Posted: June 20, 2019

FASEB strongly supports continued federal support for research using fetal tissue to ensure sustained progress in the biomedical sciences. Therefore, we are disappointed by the recent decision of the Trump Administration to halt research utilizing human fetal tissue conducted by investigators in the National Institute of Health’s (NIH’s) intramural program. Suspension of this research will slow progress towards the development of treatment and cures for wide range of serious diseases.

Fetal tissue research has played a critical role in scientific advances that have saved and enhanced the lives of millions of people. These include development of vaccines against polio, rubella, measles, chickenpox, adenovirus, and rabies and treatments for debilitating chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, and hemophilia. More recently, fetal tissue research has helped scientists better understand the impact of Zika and other viruses on fetal development. All these advances have depended upon the unique properties of cells derived from fetal tissues that cannot be replaced by other cell types.

The regulatory framework guiding research utilizing fetal tissue is well-established and rigorous. Therefore, FASEB is also concerned about the proposed third layer of review for extramural research proposals dependent upon fetal tissue. We look forward to learning more about the Administration’s plans to implement the Ethics Review Board and offer our assistance to ensure that valuable fetal tissue research can continue to advance scientific discovery and human health.


Adopted June 17, 2019