Legal and regulatory issues for neural grafts Page: 2
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The use of neural grafts from fetuses is showing some success for the treatment of
disorders such as Parkinson's disease, and promise for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease as
well. A potential advantage of using fetal tissue is that it is relatively undifferentiated, grows
rapidly, and is less likely than other donor tissue to be rejected.' The fact that in this country
there are 0.5 million people with Parkinson's disease and 2.5 million Alzheimer's patients2
indicates the pressing need for the development of a treatment. Currently, research on fetal
neural tissue grafts is underway in the United States, Sweden, Mexico, Great Britain, and
The use of neural grafts from fetuses raises many ethical and legal issues. These include
issues related to the protection of the human subjects who will be recipients of the grafts, the
protection of the fetuses that will provide the grafts, and the proper characterization of the
graft material itself.
I. Protection of the Subjects of the Research
A. General Legal and Ethical Principles Governing Human Research
SJ. Fox, "Overview" in 2 NIH Report of the Human Fetal Tissue Transplantation Research
Panel (1988) (hereinafter NIH Report) at A7-8.
2 N. Terry, "Politics and Privacy: Refining the Ethical and Legal Issues in Fetal Tissue
Transplantation," 66 Wash U.L.O. 523-551, 527-528 (1988).
3 Fox, supra note 1, at Al.
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Andrews, Lori B. Legal and regulatory issues for neural grafts, report, October 1989; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc97321/m1/2/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.