Neural Grafting: Repairing the Brain and Spinal Cord
Extraordinary developments in the neuroscience in recent years have shown promise of new advances for treating diseases of the nervous system and for increased general understanding of the human mind. Paralleling these developments has been a growing congressional interest in their policy implications. The designation of the 1990s by the 101st Congress as the ‘decade of the Brain’ is one indication of this interest, as was the request for OTA to undertake a series of reports under an assessment of ‘New Developments in Neuroscience.’
This special report, the second of the neuroscience series, discusses the field of neural grafting into the brain and spinal cord to treat neurological disorders. It describes the technology of neural grafting, the neurological conditions that it may be used to treat, and the patient populations that are affected.
Also, the legal and ethical issues raised by the development of neural grafting techniques are discussed. The report includes a range of options for congressional action related to the Federal funding of transplantation research using human fetal tissue, the adequacy of existing Federal laws and regulations regarding the use of human fetal tissue, and the role of the Federal Government in guiding the development and promoting the safety and efficacy of neural grafting procedures.