Recent reports have led some critics to question the ethics of a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration project aimed at implanting human genes into mice.
As CNS News reported, documents from the FDA and General Services Administration confirmed that the federal agency signed a contract last month to acquire human tissue from aborted fetuses.
A notice posted more than a month before the June 25 contract signing indicated that contractors would be bidding on a job that would require them to “provide the human fetal tissue needed to continue the ongoing research being led by the FDA.”
Citing a goal of creating “Humanized Mice,” the solicitation indicated that the “fresh human tissues” would be used “for implantation into severely immune-compromised mice to create chimeric animals that have a human immune system.”
The winning bid went to Advanced Bioscience Resources, a California-based non-profit firm that will receive a contract valued at $15,900 for the service.
According to research by CNS News, the human fetal tissue will come exclusively from elective abortion procedures.
“Thus, by issuing a contract to acquire human fetal tissue to use in making mice with human immune systems, the FDA is using federal tax dollars to create a demand for human body parts that must be taken from babies who are aborted,” writer Terence P. Jeffrey argued.
He went on to assert that the federal government has an inherent interest in ensuring abortion remains legal given the FDA’s financial investment in this project.
Though an FDA representative did not reply to all questions directly, a statement to CNS News did provide some additional details.
The administration is “committed to ensuring that its research is conducted responsibly,” the statement read, adding that it strives to meet “all legal requirements” and the “highest ethical standards.”
Just a “very small fraction of the FDA’s total research” has been conducted using human fetal tissue, the FDA said, noting that it has only been used in cases where no other options were available.
Specifically, the statement indicated that such research is conducted “where it is critical to understanding how the human immune system responds to certain drugs and biologics.”
The FDA went on to cite the benefits it believes this testing has already made possible.
“This work has led to a better understanding of a number of conditions and diseases that affect millions of Americans,” the statement claimed.
Distancing itself from the contractor, the statement made clear that it is “not involved in the (tissue procurement organization’s) sourcing of the tissue.”
The contract did require the non-profit organization to provide “assurances that they are in compliance with all applicable legal requirements, including relevant provisions relating to research involving human fetal tissue.”
All FDA research is done “in compliance with federal, state and local regulations and guidelines, as well as FDA policies,” the administration said.
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