US Senate candidate and PA lawmaker call for investigation after reports of Pitt’s fetal tissue research

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The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) is facing new calls for an investigation into its federally funded research into fetal tissue, after information surfaced that many find troubling.

Republican State Representative Kathy Rapp, who chairs the majority of the Legislature’s Health Committee, sent a letter Thursday asking the Pennsylvania Auditor General to review Pitt’s state and federal funding. Pennsylvania Republican Sean Parnell, candidate for the US Senate, has also called for an investigation.

“If these claims are true that scientists at the University of Pittsburgh were taking kidneys from unborn babies while their hearts were still beating, they should not only see their taxpayer funding immediately suspended, but everyone involved should face it. to criminal charges, ”he tweeted Thursday.

New documents released this week by watchdog Judicial Watch show Pitt discussing his efforts to minimize hot ischemic weather, or the length of time an organ maintains its body temperature after blood flow has been interrupted. It is not known how these procedures play out, but this content has prompted some to speculate on the status of the fetuses whose organs have been removed.

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Pitt has repeatedly denied the wrongdoing, including refuting claims he harvested organs from live infants. In a statement to Fox News, he called the allegations “irresponsible and completely false.”

“As we have noted on several occasions,” said David Seldin, vice chancellor for information, “the University of Pittsburgh does not perform medical procedures and is not part of the tissue collection process. All University research is closely supervised to ensure adherence to strict and rigorous federal and state laws and regulations. “

In a Thursday letter, Rapp said: “While I recognize the limitation of the Auditor General’s duties to investigate potential criminal violations, I respectfully request that your office undertake a full investigation of all state and federal funds that have been obtained by the University. “

“These funds should be reviewed to determine if they have been used to support the education of Pennsylvania residents, as required by funding legislation passed each legislature that provides them with their non-preferred allowance,” she said. declared.

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She added that it is “of grave concern if these funds are used to promote abortion among minority populations”.

The documents Rapp referred to, which were released by conservative government watchdog Judicial Watch earlier this week, showed what many described as a disproportionate number of minority fetuses.

The university told Fox News that the higher number of minorities was a result of the focus on populations most affected by kidney disease. “Projects funded by the National Institutes of Health must ensure appropriate inclusion of women and minorities,” said David Seldin.

“They should also ensure that the study distribution reflects the population necessary to achieve the scientific objectives of the study. Question another way: Does the composition of the study reflect the populations affected by the disease in question? In the case of the GUDMAP Tissue Hub, one of the objectives is to support researchers in the search for treatments and cures for kidney disease. “

GUDMAP is the name of the federally funded program that brought attention to Pitt this week. It involves the study of genitourinary organs like the kidney and bladder.

Pitt’s request made it clear that she was seeking to “develop a pipeline acquisition, quality control and distribution of human genitourinary devices [urinary and genital organs and functions] samples obtained throughout development (6-42 weeks gestation). “Forty-two weeks represents more than 10 months of pregnancy.

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In 2015, Pitt told the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that he has “been collecting fetal tissue for over 10 years … including[ing] liver, heart, gonads, legs, brain, genitourinary tissues, including kidneys, ureters and bladder. ”

Pitt did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on recent calls for an investigation.


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