The US National Institutes of Health has outlined how it will be handling restrictions on fetal tissue research going forward, ScienceInsider reports. It notes the NIH will still fund some grants that rely on fetal tissue work, but that applicants will have to fill out extra paperwork and go through an ethics review.
In June, the Trump Administration announced that it would be limiting federal funding for fetal tissue research by ending intramural research at NIH using such tissue and limiting extramural research the agency funds that uses fetal tissue.
In a new announcement, NIH says applications submitted on or after September 25, 2019 that plan to use fetal tissue will have to, as part of their application, justify their use of fetal tissue, explain why other approaches cannot be used, and detail how the tissue will be obtained. Projects that fall in a fundable scoring range will then undergo a review by an ethics board. Some grants, such as training grants, are not allowed to include fetal tissue research, it notes.
This approach, researchers tell ScienceInsider, will allow the Trump Administration to curtail fetal tissue research while being able to say that it is still allowed. "With these rules, it's not impossible" to conduct fetal tissue research with NIH support, the University of California, San Diego's Lawrence Goldstein, says at ScienceInsider, "but it's going to be very problematic."