>Date: Thu, 10 Jul 1997 08:56:06 -0400 (EDT)
>LONDON (Reuter) - Most British doctors think animal-to-human transplants should be allowed, a survey published Wednesday found. Most also believe it is all right to genetically alter animals for the sake of medical science, the survey of 250 doctors for the British Medical Association's (BMA) News Review. And despite fears, even among experts, about the ethics of using apes and monkeys for transplant research, the doctors surveyed thought it should be allowed.
The British government has declared a moratorium on all animal-to-human transplants, known as xenotransplants, until the dangers and ethics have been examined. Last year the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, a panel made up of scientists, lawyers and ethicists, said xenotransplants would probably be all right if health and animal welfare issues were watched out for. There are fears that animal viruses could pass to humans, becoming deadly or virulent or both.
The BMA's survey found that 77 percent of its regular panel of 150 hospital doctors believed xenotransplants should be allowed. Sixty-five percent approved of genetically altering animals for science and 60 percent thought it all right to experiment on primates. Among general practitioners the figures were slightly lower -- 75 percent in favor of xenotransplants, 55 percent for genetic engineering and 56 percent for primate xenotransplants.
``So long as man uses animals for food, I see no moral distinction from the use of non-humans for medical purposes,'' anaesthetist Peter Bamber told the magazine.
Xenotransplantation of Small
Intestinal sub-mucosa. Mar 98
This technique developed by Purdue university can aid healing of inhuries for example to ligaments of the knee by stimulating growth of a healing response that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. 11 patients have been approved by the food and drug administration to receive these trials. Orthopaedics has moved from using synthetics to repair suchinjuries to hervesting material from the bodyelsewhere. The chairman of he American Avcademy of Orthopaedic Research, himslef a researcher into SIS fears the FDA may have been stampeded by demand by the public for clinical progress into allowing human trials before the proper research has been done.
Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine claim Xenotransplantation is potentially very Dangerous. Mar 98
The group warns that xenotransplantation could cause a deadly AIDS-type disease which could be spread as easily as the common cold. Two types of endogenous retrovirus, loosely called 'porcine endogenous pro-viruses', in the DNA of most strains of pig. They warn that billions could be at risk to save only thousands of lives. Transplant requests are growing at 15% per-annum and supply cannot meet demand.