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AAMC Joins Letter Urging Biden to Reverse Fetal Tissue Research Restrictions

January 8, 2021

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Christa Wagner, Senior Legislative Analyst

The AAMC joined nearly 100 organizations and institutions in a Jan. 7 letter to President-elect Joe Biden urging a swift rescission of the current Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) restrictions on human fetal tissue research following his inauguration.

The letter expresses the important role of fetal tissue in past development of treatments for a wide range of diseases, and the current use of cells derived from human fetal tissue in the development of vaccines and therapies against COVID-19. The letter also encourages completion of an expert report on the scientific and medical value of human fetal tissue research.

“As a result of the flawed 2019 policy, highly worthy, scientifically meritorious research was not funded, creating a chilling effect on the broader scientific community. The NIH guide notices that implemented the HHS policy must be revoked to restore the integrity of the peer review process and lift the unnecessary barriers to promising biomedical research using HFT,” states the letter.

The 2019 HHS policy halted all intramural research using fetal tissue and imposed additional barriers to the funding of extramural research using fetal tissue supported by the National Institutes of Health [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 11, 2020; March 27, 2020; June 7, 2019].

“As organizations representing scientists, clinicians, and patients driven by a desire to improve the health and well-being of all, we appreciate your commitment to public health, biomedical research, and evidence-based policies. We look forward to working with you and your administration and thank you for considering our views on the significance of research using human fetal tissue,” the letter concludes.

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