Pig transplants postponed

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7076.242 (Published 25 January 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:242

Until we know more about graft rejection, physiology, and infectivity

  1. Peter J Morris, Nuffield professor of surgerya
  1. a Nuffield Department of Surgery, Oxford University, Oxford Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, OX3 9DU

    Britain's long awaited report on the ethics of xenotransplantation has now appeared.1 Following on from last year's report from the Nuffield bioethics committee,2 its main conclusion is that clinical trials of xenotransplantation are not appropriate at the present time as there is insufficient knowledge of the immune response to a xenograft, the physiological behaviour of a xenograft, and the risk of infection across species. Both reports conclude that it is ethical to use pigs as a source of donor tissues, provided that the pigs are well cared for, but not to use primates other than for carefully controlled research. However, in recommending that clinical trials should not yet be carried out the advisory group has taken a stronger line.

    Is this recommendation reasonable …

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