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Trump administration OKs contract renewal for ‘humanized mice’ from baby body parts

Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- The federal Department of Health and Human Services has granted a second 90-day extension to a contract with the University of California at San Francisco to make “humanized mice.”

Scientists implant mice with tissue taken from late-term aborted babies. HHS cites a 1993 federal statute that allows such research. Articles published in scientific journals indicate that fetal bone marrow, liver and thymus were harvested from babies who had been at 20 to 24 weeks in gestational age.

In September, HHS launched a review of the harvesting of baby parts following Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s referral of the nonprofit Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR) to the FBI. ABR came under scrutiny after allegations emerged that it had sold parts of aborted babies. According to a press release, HHS terminated ABR’s contract and decided to review “all acquisitions involving human fetal tissue to ensure conformity with procurement and human fetal tissue research laws and regulations.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, federal funding of fetal tissue research is at the level of $78 million for fiscal year 2018. The figure will jump to $95 million for the following fiscal year. CNSnews reported that HHS, of which NIH is a constituent part, is conducting a comprehensive review of “of all research involving fetal tissue,” ostensibly to ensure that fetal tissue research is consistent “with statutes and regulations governing such research, and to ensure the adequacy of procedures and oversight of this research in light of the serious regulatory, moral, and ethical considerations involved.”

NIH signed its “humanized mouse” one-year contract with UCSF in 2013, with the option of renewal up to Dec. 5, 2020. CNSnews cited the Federal Procurement Data System and noted that the new three-month extension is worth $521,082 to USCF. That will mean the federal government will have paid $10,596,960 for the research. If the contract is renewed through Dec. 5, 2020, HHS would pay UCSF a total of $13,799,501, according to CNSnews.

The contract calls on UCSF scientists to create two different types of “humanized mice,” which will receive grafts of "human fetal liver and thymus.” The CNS report noted that the original contract solicitation called on the contractor to produce two cohorts of up to 50 “humanized mice.” These should be produced “with tissue from a single donor” i.e. a single aborted child. The contract also called on the contractor to “(o)btain the necessary human fetal tissues for use under the contract.”

Late-term connection

Some research specifies that tissue from babies of 20-24 weeks’ gestation are required, according to a 2016 research paper. “Fetal gut tissues (19 to 24 weeks’ gestation) were obtained from women with normal pregnancies before elective termination for nonmedical reasons with informed consent according to local, state and federal regulations,” read an article in Pathogen.

According to the Mayo Clinic, unborn babies at 18 weeks’ gestation are able to hear and roll over and flip. Also, at 24 weeks they have a survival rate surpassing 50 percent if they receive medical care upon birth. Some babies of apparently later gestational age are killed and used for research. For example, an undercover video produced by the Center for Medical Progress shows ABR’s procurement director Perrin Larton saying, “I literally have had women come in and they’ll go in the (operating room) and they’re back out in three minutes.” Larton said on video, “And I’m going, ‘what’s going on?’ (And they say:) ‘Oh yea, the fetus was already in the vaginal canal, whenever we put her in the stirrups it just fell out.’”

Larton indicated that ABR personnel would wait outside operating rooms to obtain babies as soon as possible after death in order to ensure high quality tissue. “We get the tissue, the doctor makes sure the termination is complete … we have it immediately after,” she said.

Business connection

The stakes for business in fetal tissue are high. According to an April 2018 press release from Persistence Market Research, a report indicates that the global humanized mice model market is projected to exhibit a compound annual growth rate of 6.0 percent from 2017 to 2026. “In 2017, the market was worth US$67.5 million,” it said, and will reach $ 113.5 million by the end of 2026. Among the companies in the market are The Jackson Laboratory; Crown Bioscience Inc. (JSR Life Science); Charles River Laboratories International, Inc.; Taconic Biosciences, Inc.; Ingenious Targeting Laboratory Inc.; Trans Genic Inc., Ltd.; GenOway; Creative Animodel;and Horizon Discovery Group plc.

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