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NIH blocks research using fetal tissue, prompting calls of ‘scientific censorship’

| | December 12, 2018
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have been ordered not to acquire new fetal tissue for their research since September, according to Science — the same month the Trump administration began an audit of research using the tissue funded by the NIH and other agencies.

The NIH confirmed the suspension on Friday [December 7] to Science, which reported it affected two NIH labs, including halting an HIV research project. …

Researchers use fetal tissue to create mice with human-like immune systems…

“Humanized mice have been available for a long time,” Dr. Warner Greene, the director and senior investigator at the Center for HIV Cure Research at the Gladstone Institute, told STAT. His NIH collaborator was told in September that fetal tissue could no longer be ordered. “To have them removed — to have experimental programs stopped — because of politics is really disturbing,” Greene said. “I believe it’s scientific censorship.”

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Greene and [Kim Hasenkrug, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Rocky Mountain Laboratories] research examines how HIV reservoirs get established. These reservoirs can linger for years and create a resurgence of the illness if someone stops taking medication. … If the scientists can establish what role this signal protein plays, then an antibody may stop new reservoirs from being established.

Read full, original post: HIV research halted after NIH freezes acquisition of fetal tissue

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