Kevin/Tim ->Xenotransplantation

John Cherwonogrodzky jcherwon at dres.dnd.ca
Wed Aug 30 15:13:11 EST 1995


Dear Kevin and Tim:
     Thanks for opening up the topic of xenotransplantation. Just as millions 
(?) of people are saved by getting injections of insulin extracted from animal 
organs (beef pancreas), so the potential for xenotransplantation of transgenic 
organs might also save 1000s of lives. I agree that from what I've read, we're 
still a ways away from this (seems I also read years ago about an Australian 
note that incubating organs in tissue culture media for a few days reduces 
immunogenicity). 
     I recognize some moral aspects on the horizon. About 2 years ago I saw an 
excellent BBC movie about a scientist that made a transgenic ape (using his 
DNA) as an experiment to provide organs for sick children. The ape progeny, 
however, was more human than ape, although it seemed to shift about in what 
was dominant depending on the age. At the end he couldn't terminate his 
"child". In another example, about 15 years ago there was another (I think) 
BBC movie about a scientist that murdered a chimera (again monkey/human) to 
force a trial to determine if these slaves had rights. There are several other 
moral problems as well (is consumption of a transgenic tissue partial 
cannabilism, etc. ). However, perhaps these are trivial to the real goal of 
saving lives...John



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