THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH and Human Services (DHHS) is putting transplantation of fetal tissue on hold pending review by an outside advisory committee of ethical and legal questions that the procedure raises.
Apart from one already funded study, the federal government will not support clinical studies using fetal tissues until the committee has made its report. A selection group will nominate approximately 20 persons for the advisory committee and James B. Wyngaarden, MD, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will make the appointments.
The single study allowed to continue is a $150 000 project that involves implanting fetal pancreatic tissue for juvenile diabetes. Since it had already been funded, it would not have been legal to stop it. Nevertheless, the principal investigator, Hans Sollinger, MD, University of Wisconsin, Madison, has decided not to proceed with the human studies until the committee makes its report.
Use of fetal tissue