Trump administration halts US funding for fetal tissue research, threatening work on AIDS, cancer and other diseases

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Image: elkedekker/Flickr

The Trump administration on Wednesday [June 5] ended funding of medical research by government scientists using fetal tissue and canceled a multimillion-dollar contract for a university laboratory that relies on the material to test new HIV therapies.

The change represents a victory for antiabortion advocates, who immediately lauded the change, and a major disappointment to scientists who say the tissue collected from elective abortions has been instrumental to unlocking the secrets of diseases that range from AIDS to cancers to Zika, as well as to developing vaccines and treatments for illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease.

Immediately affected is a University of California at San Francisco laboratory whose multiyear contract with the National Institutes of Health to test potential HIV therapies using “humanized mice” was terminated for unspecified ethical reasons. The government has been the lab’s sole source of funding.

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“With these new arbitrary restrictions on research, the United States is ceding its role as the global leader in the development of cellular therapies and regenerative medicine,” said Doug Melton, a co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

Read full, original post: New restriction on fetal tissue research ‘was the president’s decision’

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