XENOTRANSPLANTS - animal to human
transplants - have won ethical
approval after the Nuffield Council on
Bioethics, set up to debate medical
morality, gave its go-ahead. However,
while xenotransplants are in principle
an ethical way of dealing with the
shortage of human organs for transplant, one "should proceed with
caution, always paying attention to
the highest standards of patient care
and animal welfare", said Albert Weale,
who headed the council's working
Nuffield began its debate after advances in the field pioneered by Imutran, a Cambridge-based biotech company, reached great heights. Imutran, set up in 1984, has bred trangenic human pigs containing a human protein that regulates part of the immune resonse. Hearts from these pigs have been transplanted in monkeys with moderate success. Human trials are to begin shortly.
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