Ethical guidelines for the use of human embryonic or fetal tissue for experimental and clinical neurotransplantation and research
- Cite this article as:
- Boer, G.J. J Neurol (1994) 242: 1. doi:10.1007/BF00920568
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Recently a Network of European CNS Transplantation And Restoration (NECTAR) has been founded, aimed at a concerted effort to develop efficient, reliable, safe and ethically acceptable transplantation therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Parkinson's and Huntington's disease. Owing to the use of human fetal brain tissue in such studies, usually obtained from elective abortions, ethical concerns have been focused on the relationship between abortion and transplantation activities. There is no uniform code on the retrieval and use of human embryonal or fetal material for experimental and clinical research or application in Europe. NECTAR has therefore formulated self-restraining ethical guidelines for its European member groups. These guidelines consist of a series of restrictions intended to prevent the use of grafts from encouraging induced abortions and to maintain high standards of respect for life and human dignity. In order to support applications for human embryonal or fetal neurotransplantation studies of NECTAR member groups to local or national medico-ethical committees, and to stimulate the goal of obtaining European legislation on this issue, the guidelines are here presented. They are followed by extensive explanatory notes. Only in this public manner can the lines of thought behind these NECTAR guidelines be addressed critically by those working in the fields of biomedical ethics and legislation as well by politicians and the general public.