The following comes from a July 19 CNS News article by Jeannette Richard:

Fetal tissue has not been directly linked to a single medical cure in 90 years of fetal tissue research, according to an interim report by the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives of the House Energy and Commerce Committee released July 14.

“Fetal tissue has been used in biomedical research for over 90 years. In this time, not a single medical cure has resulted from this research,” the panel, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), reported.

“While it is commonly claimed that fetal tissue was used to produce the polio vaccine, this is largely false. The polio vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk in 1955 using a monkey cell line, and is still produced using monkey cells.

“In nearly 100 years of research, fetal tissue has not been directly linked to a single medical cure,” the 88-page report stated.

“In fact, vaccines against eight diseases (Rabies, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Cholera, Plague, Tetanus, Pertussis and Bacille-Calmette-Guerin disease) were all developed in the 1800s and early 1900s, well before the first use of fetal tissue in research,” according to the report.

“Almost 75 specific vaccine formulations have been approved by the FDA for use in the United States and not a single one has been produced using freshly isolated human fetal tissue. Eleven of these vaccines rely on fetal cell lines for historic reasons, yet all of them could be produced using animal cells,” the panel noted.

“Obtaining FDA approval for a new vaccine is very labor intensive and costly,” the panel pointed out. “Consequently, once FDA approval has been secured for a particular method of producing a vaccine, pharmaceutical companies tend to use that method in order to avoid incurring new costs associated with ‘validating’ the safety and efficacy of new procedures.”

Pharmaceutical companies continue to use vaccines produced from fetal cell lines to avoid having to have the FDA reapprove them, the panel explained, but “today other pharmaceutical companies use existing viable alternatives.”

At a hearing in March, Dr. Lawrence Goldstein, a scientist from the University of California/San Diego, who does research involving fetal tissue, testified that fetal tissue “play[s] a vital role in modern cutting edge medical research.”

“If we do not continue to use this tissue that is destined for discard, we forego the ability of researchers to continue to make timely and significant progress in mitigating, if not eliminating, devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s and improving the quality of life of many people in the future,” he warned.

However, the Select Investigative Panel pointed out that only 160 (or less than 1 percent) of a total of 76,081 research grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2014 funded research which involved the use of fetal tissue, including only two of 1,304 grants for research on Alzheimer’s disease.