Home UK ASIAN NEWS Scientists feel chill of crackdown on fetal tissue research – AOL

Scientists feel chill of crackdown on fetal tissue research – AOL

81

WASHINGTON (AP) — To save babies from brain-damaging birth defects, University of Pittsburgh scientist Carolyn Coyne studies placentas from fetuses that otherwise would be discarded — and she’s worried this kind of research is headed for the chopping block.

The Trump administration is cracking down on fetal tissue research , with new hurdles for government-funded scientists around the country who call the special cells vital for fighting a range of health threats. Already, the administration has shut down one university’s work using fetal tissue to test HIV treatments, and is ending other fetal tissue research at the National Institutes of Health.

“I knew this was something that’s going to trickle down to the rest of us,” said Coyne. She uses the placenta, which people may not think of as fetal tissue but technically is classified as such because the fetus produced it, to study how viruses such as Zika get past that protective barrier early in pregnancy.

“It seems to me what we’re moving toward is a ban,” she added. If so, when it comes to unraveling what happens in pregnancy and fetal development, “we’re going to stay ignorant to a lot of things.”

31 PHOTOS

Mothers of babies afflicted by Zika fight poverty, despair

See Gallery

Rosana Vieira Alves and her five-month-old daughter Luana Vieira, who was born with microcephaly, pose for a picture in the sea of Porto de Galinhas, a beach located in Ipojuca, in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Jackeline Vieira de Souza, 26, holds her four-month-old son Daniel who was born with microcephaly in front of their house in Olinda, near Recife, Brazil, February 11, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce/File Photo SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Gabriela Alves de Azevedo, 22, holds her two-year-old daughter Ana Sophia, who was born with microcephaly, at their house in Olinda, Brazil, August 7, 2018. Gabriela had planned to finish high school and study physical therapy. Now, she spends her days caring for her child. Her husband left shortly after Ana Sophia’s birth. He could not accept their child’s condition, Gabriela says, and does not pay child support. “I went into depression and my family helped me,” she said. “If it was not for them, I would have gone crazy.” REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Silvina da Silva poses with her two-year-old granddaughter Ana Sophia, who was born with microcephaly, at their house in Olinda, Brazil, August 7, 2018. Ana Sophia’s mother Gabriela had planned to finish high school and study physical therapy. Now, she spends her days caring for her child. Her husband left shortly after Ana Sophia’s birth. He could not accept their child’s condition, Gabriela says, and does not pay child support. “I went into depression and my family helped me,” she said. “If it was not for them, I would have gone crazy.” Today, some relatives give moral support and Ana Sophia’s paternal grandmother helps with her day-to-day care. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Gleyse Kelly da Silva, 28, holds her two-year-old daughter Maria Giovanna, at their house in Recife, Brazil, August 8, 2018. Gleyse has help from her husband and mother in caring for Maria Giovanna “Gigi” da Silva. But the burden is still great, and she was forced to leave her job as a toll attendant. “She does not sit alone, she does not roll, she does not do anything alone,” Gleyse said. Gigi needs an orthopedist, but there are not enough to go around, and she’s perpetually on waiting lists. Gleyse struggles with navigating her daughter’s wheelchair on public transportation. Few buses have working lifts, and some drivers have refused to help her. Such struggles prompted Gleyse to help create the Union of Mothers of Angels, which provides advice and logistical support for mothers of children with microcephaly. The group now serves more than 250 families in Pernambuco. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

X-ray of Rosana Vieira Alves’s daughter Luana Vieira, who is four months old with microcephaly, is pictured at their house in Olinda, Brazil, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Luana Vieira, four months old, who was born with microcephaly, is held by her mother Rosana Vieira Alves as they ride the subway after a doctor’s appointment in Recife, Brazil, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Jackeline Vieira de Souza, 26, holds her four-month-old son Daniel who was born with microcephaly, as they walk toward their house in Olinda, near Recife, Brazil, February 11, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce/File Photo SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Luana Vieira, who is two years old, and was born with microcephaly, lies on a sofa after bath at her house in Olinda, Brazil, August 6, 2018. Luana’s mother Rosana Vieira Alves has three daughters. “It’s hard to manage the girls. Some of them are jealous, but Luana needs more care. In time, they’ll understand.” Rosana does not have any family support and is overwhelmed by the cost of housing and Luana’s medicines. She counts it a victory that she has managed to get a wheelchair for Luana, and worries about the four surgeries her daughter needs to correct problems with her eyes, her gut and the position of her hips and feet. The demands have taken Rosana to some dark places, and she confesses that she has considered suicide. But she still dreams of a better future, and hopes to get a degree in accounting or civil engineering. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Jackeline Vieira de Souza, 26, uses a green bottle to stimulate her four-month-old son Daniel who was born with microcephaly inside their house in Olinda, near Recife, Brazil, February 11, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce/File Photo SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Jackeline Vieira de Souza (R), 28, mother of Daniel Vieira stands by as Daniel, who is two years old, and was born with microcephaly, reacts to stimulus during an evaluation session with a physiotherapist at the Association of Parents and Friends of the Exceptional (APAE) in Recife, Brazil, August 7, 2018. A few years ago Jackeline fought to overcome a very rare complication from an earlier pregnancy, and then survived cancer. “My dream was to be a mother again,” she says. In 2015, she got her wish. But during her pregnancy, she learned that her son had microcephaly. “When he was born, I fell in love with him because I knew he would be a good thing in my life, even with the difficulties I would have to face.” Daniel’s father separated from Jackeline shortly after learning that his son had microcephaly. He pays a small amount of family support every month, in addition to a monthly check that Jackeline gets from the government. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Rosana Vieira Alves holds her four-month-old daughter Luana Vieira, who was born with microcephaly, at their house in Olinda, Brazil, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Luana Vieira, who is two years old, and was born with microcephaly, is pushed in a wheelchair by her sister Vitoria Evillen, near a sports court in the housing complex where they live, in Olinda, Brazil, August 6, 2018. Luana’s mother Rosana Vieira Alves has three daughters. “It’s hard to manage the girls. Some of them are jealous, but Luana needs more care. In time, they’ll understand.” Rosana does not have any family support and is overwhelmed by the cost of housing and Luana’s medicines. She counts it a victory that she has managed to get a wheelchair for Luana, and worries about the four surgeries her daughter needs to correct problems with her eyes, her gut and the position of her hips and feet. The demands have taken Rosana to some dark places, and she confesses that she has considered suicide. But she still dreams of a better future, and hopes to get a degree in accounting or civil engineering. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Daniel Vieira, who is two years old, and was born with microcephaly, sleeps at his home in Olinda, Brazil, August 7, 2018. During her pregnancy, Daniel’s mother Jackeline Vieira de Souza learned that her son had microcephaly. “When he was born, I fell in love with him because I knew he would be a good thing in my life, even with the difficulties I would have to face.” Daniel’s father separated from Jackeline shortly after learning that his son had microcephaly. He pays a small amount of family support every month, in addition to a monthly check that Jackeline gets from the government. It takes several hours to travel by bus between their home in Olinda and Recife, where Daniel goes for treatments. Lately, those trips are somewhat less frequent, and Jackeline believes Daniel’s health is more stable. She has no illusions that her son will ever walk, eat on his own or live a normal life. Yet in many ways she is grateful for her “miracle” baby, who she says makes her feel “happy and more accomplished.” REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Luana Vieira, who is two years old, and was born with microcephaly, reacts to stimulus during an evaluation session with a physiotherapist at the Altino Ventura rehabilitation center in Recife, Brazil, August 6, 2018. Luana’s mother Rosana Vieira Alves has three daughters. “It’s hard to manage the girls. Some of them are jealous, but Luana needs more care. In time, they’ll understand.” Rosana does not have any family support and is overwhelmed by the cost of housing and Luana’s medicines. She counts it a victory that she has managed to get a wheelchair for Luana, and worries about the four surgeries her daughter needs to correct problems with her eyes, her gut and the position of her hips and feet. The demands have taken Rosana to some dark places, and she confesses that she has considered suicide. But she still dreams of a better future, and hopes to get a degree in accounting or civil engineering. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Gleyse Kelly da Silva embraces her daughter Maria Giovanna, who has microcephaly, in Recife, Brazil, January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Gleyse Kelly da Silva holds Maria Giovanna, who has microcephaly, at their house in Recife, Brazil, January 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Rosana Vieira Alves carries her four-month-old daughter Luana Vieira, who was born with microcephaly, while taking her daughters Laiane Sophia (L) and Vitoria Evillen to their school in Olinda, Brazil, February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Gleyse Kelly da Silva holds her daughter Maria Giovanna, who has microcephaly, at their house in Recife, Brazil, January 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Rosana Vieira Alves, 28, washes her two-year-old daughter Luana Vieira, who was born with microcephaly, at their house in Olinda, Brazil, August 6, 2018. Rosana has three daughters. “It’s hard to manage the girls. Some of them are jealous, but Luana needs more care. In time, they’ll understand.” Rosana does not have any family support and is overwhelmed by the cost of housing and Luana’s medicines. She counts it a victory that she has managed to get a wheelchair for Luana, and worries about the four surgeries her daughter needs to correct problems with her eyes, her gut and the position of her hips and feet. The demands have taken Rosana to some dark places, and she confesses that she has considered suicide. But she still dreams of a better future, and hopes to get a degree in accounting or civil engineering. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Gabriela Alves de Azevedo bathes her four-month-old daughter Ana Sophia, who was born with microcephaly, at their house in Olinda, Brazil, March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Rosana Vieira Alves, 28, feeds her two-year-old daughter Luana Vieira, who was born with microcephaly, at their house in Olinda, Brazil, August 9, 2018. Rosana has three daughters. “It’s hard to manage the girls. Some of them are jealous, but Luana needs more care. In time, they’ll understand.” Rosana does not have any family support and is overwhelmed by the cost of housing and Luana’s medicines. She counts it a victory that she has managed to get a wheelchair for Luana, and worries about the four surgeries her daughter needs to correct problems with her eyes, her gut and the position of her hips and feet. The demands have taken Rosana to some dark places, and she confesses that she has considered suicide. But she still dreams of a better future, and hopes to get a degree in accounting or civil engineering. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Gabriela Alves de Azevedo holds her four-month-old daughter Ana Sophia, who was born with microcephaly, at their house in Olinda, Brazil, March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Maria Giovanna “Gigi” da Silva, who is two years old, and was born with microcephaly, sits in her home in Recife, Brazil, August 8, 2018. Gigi needs an orthopedist, but there are not enough to go around, and she’s perpetually on waiting lists. Her mother Gleyse Kelly da Silva struggles with navigating her daughter’s wheelchair on public transportation. Few buses have working lifts, and some drivers have refused to help her. “People do not respect my daughter’s rights,” she said. Other mothers have told her similar stories, including a bus passenger who refused to ride with “that demon,” referring to a baby with microcephaly. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Gabriela Alves de Azevedo, 22, holds her two-year-old daughter Ana Sophia, who was born with microcephaly, at their house in Olinda, Brazil, August 7, 2018. Gabriela had planned to finish high school and study physical therapy. Now, she spends her days caring for her child. Her husband left shortly after Ana Sophia’s birth. He could not accept their child’s condition, Gabriela says, and does not pay child support. “I went into depression and my family helped me,” she said. “If it was not for them, I would have gone crazy.” REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Houses stand in the Morro da Conceicao neighbourhood in front of high rises in Recife, Brazil, August 10, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Luana Vieira, who is two years old, and was born with microcephaly, reacts to stimulus during an evaluation session with a physiotherapist at the Altino Ventura rehabilitation center in Recife, Brazil, August 6, 2018. Luana’s mother Rosana Vieira Alves has three daughters. “It’s hard to manage the girls. Some of them are jealous, but Luana needs more care. In time, they’ll understand.” Rosana does not have any family support and is overwhelmed by the cost of housing and Luana’s medicines. She counts it a victory that she has managed to get a wheelchair for Luana, and worries about the four surgeries her daughter needs to correct problems with her eyes, her gut and the position of her hips and feet. The demands have taken Rosana to some dark places, and she confesses that she has considered suicide. But she still dreams of a better future, and hopes to get a degree in accounting or civil engineering. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Rosana Vieira Alves, 28, holds her two-year-old, daughter Luana Vieira, who was born with microcephaly, at a supermarket in Olinda, Brazil, August 9, 2018. Rosana has three daughters. “It’s hard to manage the girls. Some of them are jealous, but Luana needs more care. In time, they’ll understand.” Rosana does not have any family support and is overwhelmed by the cost of housing and Luana’s medicines. She counts it a victory that she has managed to get a wheelchair for Luana, and worries about the four surgeries her daughter needs to correct problems with her eyes, her gut and the position of her hips and feet. The demands have taken Rosana to some dark places, and she confesses that she has considered suicide. But she still dreams of a better future, and hopes to get a degree in accounting or civil engineering. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Daniel Vieira, who is two years old, and was born with microcephaly, is greeted by his brother at their house in Olinda, Brazil, August 7, 2018. During her pregnancy, Daniel’s mother Jackeline Vieira de Souza learned that her son had microcephaly. “When he was born, I fell in love with him because I knew he would be a good thing in my life, even with the difficulties I would have to face.” Daniel’s father separated from Jackeline shortly after learning that his son had microcephaly. He pays a small amount of family support every month, in addition to a monthly check that Jackeline gets from the government. It takes several hours to travel by bus between their home in Olinda and Recife, where Daniel goes for treatments. Lately, those trips are somewhat less frequent, and Jackeline believes Daniel’s health is more stable. She has no illusions that her son will ever walk, eat on his own or live a normal life. Yet in many ways she is grateful for her “miracle” baby, who she says makes her feel “happy and more accomplished.” REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Gleyse Kelly da Silva, 28, rests on the baby carriage of her two-year-old daughter Maria Giovanna, while waiting for a medical appointment in a hospital in Recife, Brazil, August 8, 2018. Gleyse has help from her husband and mother in caring for Maria Giovanna “Gigi” da Silva. But the burden is still great, and she was forced to leave her job as a toll attendant. “She does not sit alone, she does not roll, she does not do anything alone,” Gleyse said. Gigi needs an orthopedist, but there are not enough to go around, and she’s perpetually on waiting lists. Gleyse struggles with navigating her daughter’s wheelchair on public transportation. Few buses have working lifts, and some drivers have refused to help her. “People do not respect my daughter’s rights,” she said. Other mothers have told her similar stories, including a bus passenger who refused to ride with “that demon,” referring to a baby with microcephaly. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Rosana Vieira Alves, 28, smiles with her daughter two-year-old Luana Vieira, who was born with microcephaly, during an evaluation session with a physiotherapist at the Altino Ventura rehabilitation center in Recife, Brazil, August 6, 2018. Rosana has three daughters. “It’s hard to manage the girls. Some of them are jealous, but Luana needs more care. In time, they’ll understand.” Rosana does not have any family support and is overwhelmed by the cost of housing and Luana’s medicines. She counts it a victory that she has managed to get a wheelchair for Luana, and worries about the four surgeries her daughter needs to correct problems with her eyes, her gut and the position of her hips and feet. The demands have taken Rosana to some dark places, and she confesses that she has considered suicide. But she still dreams of a better future, and hopes to get a degree in accounting or civil engineering. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino SEARCH “ZIKA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES.

Up Next

See Gallery

Discover More Like This




HIDE CAPTION

SHOW CAPTION

of


SEE ALL


BACK TO SLIDE

Different types of tissue left over from elective abortions have been used in scientific research for decades, and the work has been credited with leading to lifesaving vaccines and other advances. Under orders from President Donald Trump, the Health and Human Services Department abruptly announced on Wednesday the new restrictions on taxpayer-funded research, but not privately funded work.

Aside from the cancellation of an HIV-related project at the University of California, San Francisco, university-led projects that are funded by the NIH — estimated to be fewer than 200 — aren’t affected right away.

But as researchers seek to renew their funding or propose new studies, HHS said it will have to pass an extra layer of review, beyond today’s strict scientific scrutiny. Each project will have a federal ethics board appointed to recommend whether NIH should grant the money.

HHS hasn’t offered details but under the law authorizing the review process, that board must include not just biomedical experts but a theologian, and the nation’s health secretary can overrule its advice.

“I predict over time we will see a slow and steady elimination of federal funding for research that uses fetal tissue, regardless of how necessary it is,” said University of Wisconsin law professor Alta Charo, a nationally recognized bioethics expert.

Necessity is the crux of a fierce debate between abortion foes and scientists about whether there are alternatives to fetal tissue for research.

Zika offers a glimpse at the difficulty. Somehow, the Zika virus can sneak from the mother’s bloodstream across the placenta, which protects and nourishes the fetus, and target the fetus’ brain. It’s something researchers hope to learn to block.

Studying the placentas of small animals or even monkeys isn’t a substitute because they differ from the human organ, said Emory University researcher Mehul Suthar. For example, the specific type of placental cell where Zika can lurk in humans isn’t thought to be present in mouse placentas.

And because the placenta continually changes as the fetus that created it grows, first-trimester tissue may show a very different vulnerability than a placenta that’s expelled during full-term birth, when it’s no longer defined as fetal tissue but as medical waste.

Suthar recently submitted a new grant application to study first- and second-trimester placental tissue, and is worried about its fate under the still uncertain ethics provision.

It “sounds a bit murky as to what the impact could be,” he said. It could be small, “or it could be an outright ban on what we’re doing.”

Anti-abortion groups argue there are alternatives, such as stem cells, growing organ-like clumps of cells in lab dishes, or using tissue taken from newborns as they have heart surgery.

Indeed, NIH is funding a $20 million program to research alternatives to fetal tissue and to prove whether they work as well.

“Taxpayer funding ought to go to promote alternatives that are already being used in the production of treatments, vaccines and medicines, and to expand approaches that do not depend on the destruction of unborn children,” said Mallory Quigley of the Susan B. Anthony List, which works to elect anti-abortion candidates to public office.

But dozens of medical and science organizations have told HHS there is no substitute for fetal tissue in studying certain — not all — health disorders, such as HIV, Zika, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, spinal cord injury, and a variety of eye diseases.

To Pittsburgh’s Coyne, part of the political debate is a “completely unsubstantiated belief that not allowing research and science is going to prevent or stop abortions, which is not the case.”

Medical research using fetal tissue won’t stop but will move to other countries, said Charo, who advised the Obama administration. The United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore and China are among the countries using fetal tissue to seek breakthroughs.

“Other countries work with this in a regulated fashion and they will continue to outstrip us,” she said. “We have allowed patients’ interests to become collateral damage in the abortion wars.”

___

Ritter reported from New York.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

More from Aol.com:

Cadet’s rape conviction reversal panned by victim advocates

Prince Louis steals the show during Trooping the Colour debut: Photos!

Kate Middleton stuns in a yellow Alexander McQueen coat dress at Trooping the Colour

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link