Cell Lines From Miscarriages? Nonsense! by Jose Trasancos

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By Jose Trasancos, CEO, Children of God for Life, April 25, 2021  

Fr. Nicanor Austriaco and others have speculated that HEK-293 may have been established from cells taken from a miscarriage. That sounded like hogwash when I heard it and I started doing a little reading. A little reading turned into a bit more, and then a bit more. Recently, Dr. Jay Richards from Catholic University of America reached out to Stacy and he was looking for some authoritative reference on this question to support a current project. I let Stacy know that I would be happy to respond. This is what I wrote:

Stacy forwarded this question to me as I have spent some time on this after Fr. Nicanor Austriaco openly speculated that the HEK-293 cell line may have been developed using tissue from a miscarriage.

I’ll lead with the conclusion.  His statement is nonsense.  There is nothing in the scientific literature dealing directly with this claim, simply because it would never occur to a biologist to even try to establish a living cell line from dead tissue.  This cannot be done.  The impossibility becomes clear when one examines two things:

  1. The biological process of miscarriage and stillbirth, and,

  2. Post-mortem changes at the cellular level …

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