U.S. President Donald J. Trump hosts a law enforcement roundtable on MS-13 at The White House in Washington, DC, February 06, 2018. (Photo by Chris Kleponis/Pool/Sipa USA)

President Donald J. Trump (Photo credit: Chris Kleponis/Pool/Sipa USA)

UCSF Loses Funding After Trump Administration Cuts Fetal Tissue Research

Jenna Lane
June 06, 2019 - 12:26 pm

UCSF researchers, who for 30 years have used federal funding to conduct experiments using fetal tissue, will look for alternatives now that the Trump Administration has discontinued such grants.

Sam Hawgood, the chancellor of UCSF called the Trump Administration's decision Wednesday to stop funding the research research "politically motivated, shortsighted, and not based on sound science." Anti-abortion groups, on the other hand, are celebrating the move.

Now, researchers will be looking for alternatives, according to Dr. Arthur Caplan, who heads the medical ethics division at the New York University School of Medicine.

"This issue is so old that in 1999, I wrote a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine trying to explore alternatives including spontaneous abortions,” he told KCBS Radio. “My answer then and my answer now is no, there aren't alternatives. Tissues from spontaneous abortions are abnormal. That's why the fetus is aborting."

Caplan expects UCSF to look to the private sector for dollars, and to Britain, China, India or Singapore where fetal tissue research continues.

"They can partner and say you do the work in London, and we'll analyze the data in San Francisco,” Caplan said. “I think we can look forward to that kind of collaboration as well. On the other hand, I do think this prohibition and the closing down of grants over time is going to cut back on what gets done."

Meanwhile, the National Institute of Health is extending $20 million to look for alternative experimental models that do not rely on human fetal tissue.