Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Contract Still On, HHS Says

The US Department of Health and Human Services denies it is cancelling a fetal tissue contract, Science reports. This, it adds, comes in response to a Washington Post article.

Earlier this fall, HHS announced that it was beginning a review of fetal tissue research to ensure it was all in compliance. That came after antiabortion groups sent letters to HHS Secretary Alex Azar expressing their concerns about a contract between the Food and Drug Administration and a company that provides fetal tissue. The agency started a listening tour on fetal tissue research last month. Science notes that FDA contract was cancelled.

The Post reported yesterday that the University of California, San Francisco, lab that uses fetal tissue to develop mice with human-like immune systems was first told by a National Institutes of Health official that its funding was being cut off and then was told it would be given a 90-day extension to its contract, rather than the expect year-long renewal. The contract, the Post added, it worth $2 million a year. The mice that are used in testing HIV drugs, it notes.

Science now reports, though, that HHS says it did not cancel its UCSF contract. "No contracting official would have had the authority to impart any communication to UCSF that the contract was being cancelled because no decision has been made," HHS spokesperson Caitlin Oakley says in a statement.

The Scan

Cancer Survival Linked to Mutational Burden in Pan-Cancer Analysis

A pan-cancer paper appearing in JCO Precision Oncology suggests tumor mutation patterns provide clues for predicting cancer survival that are independent of other prognostic factors.

Australian Survey Points to Public Support for Genetic Risk Disclosure in Relatives of At-Risk Individuals

A survey in the European Journal of Human Genetics suggests most adult Australians are in favor of finding out if a relative tests positive for a medically actionable genetic variant.

Study Links Evolution of Stony Coral Skeleton to Bicarbonate Transporter Gene

A PNAS paper focuses on a skeleton-related bicarbonate transporter gene introduced to stony coral ancestors by tandem duplication.

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.