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Human transplants of animal organs `too risky'

作者:俞芝茸    发布时间:2019-02-27 09:16:02    

By Andy Coghlan TRANSPLANTS of animal organs into humans should be prohibited in Britain until the risks are better understood, says a committee advising the government. In a long-awaited report published this week, the Department of Health’s Advisory Group on the Ethics of Xenotransplantation calls for new laws governing the field. The report advocates the setting up of an independent committee to monitor progress in xenotransplantation and approve experiments. This recommendation was accepted this week by the government: it will set up a Xenotransplantation Interim Regulatory Authority, which will also propose new lines of research. The government is also planning legislation to turn the authority into a statutory body. The advisory group, chaired by Ian Kennedy, a lawyer at King’s College, London, says that xenotransplants are still too risky even to try experimentally. Chief among the group’s worries is that animal viruses in the transplanted organs could cause hitherto unknown illnesses. Another reason for not transplanting organs at present is that there is too little evidence that they would function for very long, says Kennedy’s group. “Xenotransplantation does not offer an easy or early solution to the chronic shortage of human organs for transplant,” says its report. The committee also rules out primates as a possible source of transplantable organs, as they are more likely to harbour viruses that could infect people. Organs from pigs might one day be acceptable, the group says. Pig heart valves are already routinely used for transplants, but these are treated with glutaraldehyde, which should kill pathogens. Pigs genetically engineered so that their organs are not rejected are nearing practical reality. Hearts and kidneys from the animals have already been transplanted into primates by Imutran, a company based in Cambridge. Before taking any final decisions,

 

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