Crucell NV Hunts Down Fresh Aborted Fetuses for Vaccines

The following two stories report on the attempts by Crucell, NV the Dutch biomedical company that produces aborted fetal cell line PER C6 to harvest new aborted fetuses for use in future vaccines.  PER C6 is taken from the retinal tissue of an 18-week gestation infant and is being used by Merck & Co to produce a new HIV vaccine, MedImmune Inc to produce a new flu vaccine and by the National Institutes of Health in developing a new Ebola vaccine.  Bragged Dr. Van der Eb at FDA meetings last year…”PER C6 was made specifically for the pharmaceutical industry….I know that sounds a bit commercial, but PER C6 was made for that purpose.”

Children of God for Life asks, “Just where does this Frankenstein madness stop?”

http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,6570050%255E421,00.html
June 10, 2003 Herald Sun – Australia
Foetal tissue for overseas sale
By Tony Wall

A SYDNEY company is involved in a secret plan to collect tissue from aborted babies and export it for medical experiments.

The sensitive proposal, to harvest some of the 90,000 foetuses aborted in Australia each year has been condemned by pro-life groups for fostering an international trade in human body parts.

The Daily Telegraph has established that a Dutch bio-tech company, Crucell, working through a Sydney contract research organisation, Parexel International, has applied to the ethics committee of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide for access to foetal material.

It is believed to be the first proposed commercial collection of foetuses in Australia, but those behind the project were hoping to carry it out without the public knowing.

The tissue would be sent to Crucell’s laboratories in the Netherlands and used to grow cell lines for research into vaccines for infectious diseases such as HIV and ebola. The abortion doctors who collect the tissue stand to make money out of the project – they would be paid an “hourly rate” for their time.

This appears to contravene National Health and Medical Research Council’s guidelines on the use of foetal tissue for research, which state that there should be no “element of commerce” involved.

The NHMRC has no knowledge of Crucell’s plan. Crucell, and Parexel’s US parent company, are listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, the Federal Government’s most vocal critic of embryonic stem cell research, wants secrecy surrounding the project to be lifted.

“I’d like to know a lot more about what sort of guidelines are going to be put in place,” he said.

Right to Life Australia spokeswoman Margaret Tighe said the plan was appalling.

“Not only do we kill babies and use Medicare funds for it but here we are contemplating making money and trading in the bodies of these poor unfortunates,” she said.

“How much lower can we sink in our lack of respect for human life?”

Both Crucell and Parexel had refused to name the hospital for “commercial reasons”.

A Queen Elizabeth spokesman said the application was withdrawn last week but Crucell maintained it was proceeding.

Australia is one of only four countries worldwide that could provide a source of foetal tissue free from mad cow disease contamination.

The Food and Drug Administration in the US has ranked Australia and New Zealand in the top tier of countries free of infectious diseases and it is this “clean bill of health” that has turned Crucell’s eye on us.

Parexel’s Sydney director, Muriel Boutillon, referred all comment to Crucell’s Netherlands-based spokeswoman Louise Dolfing. Ms Dolfing said if the application was approved it could help to find vaccines for new diseases such as SARS and save many lives.

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http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=3503775&thesection=news&thesubsection=general

May 24, 2003 New Zealand Herald
Government asked to sanction foetus sale
By EUGENE BINGHAM

Aborted New Zealand foetuses have become a sought-after product in a controversial international biotechnology market. A Weekend Herald investigation has revealed that Wellington’s district health board stood to make money out of providing tissue from aborted foetuses to a Dutch company, Crucell.

Capital and Coast Health Board pulled out of the deal last week following Weekend Herald inquiries into its application to the Wellington Regional Ethics Committee to take the tissue for the production of vaccines against HIV, Ebola and other viral diseases. This week it emerged Crucell was interested in New Zealand because it had been identified as one of only four countries that can provide a source of foetal tissue clean of mad cow disease contamination.

Despite the knockback, the company has not decided whether to give up on New Zealand. Health professionals believe other companies also will want New Zealand foetuses and that the Ministry of Health needs to remove an ethical and legal black hole on the issue. “I’m looking for clear guidelines to come from the ministry to govern this sort of research,” said the board’s general manager of hospital and health services, Dr John Coughlan. “I’m sure others could be approached in the future.”

A book last year, Body Bazaar: the Market for Human Tissue in a Biotechnology Age, revealed the extent of the trade in body parts and put the price of organs at between $10,000 and $20,000. In what would have been the first known case of New Zealand foetuses being used for commercial purposes, Capital and Coast Health would have profited by providing the tissue to Crucell, listed on New York’s Nasdaq technology stock index.

“If the project had been approved, the money would have gone into a trust fund that would have been used to fund other research,” said Dr Coughlan. He said it was not “huge amounts of money”. Asked about the appropriateness of it, Dr Coughlan said he would like to see what the ministry’s position would be. The ministry’s deputy director-general, Dr Gillian Durham, said a review of how human tissue was used for research was under way and a discussion paper would be released this year.

The Capital and Coast Health application to the ethics committee was ditched when Dr Coughlan learned details and was told there were no guidelines covering the use of foetal tissue. Dr Coughlan said that with the benefit of hindsight the application should not have been lodged. The application was made by John Tait, who is a clinical consultant in the hospital and has a private practice in obstetrics and gynaecology.