Proposals

Proposed Improvement in New Technology

We propose that regular organ transplants continue as in the past. We also propose that zenotransplant research be advanced. Using organs from baboons became problematic because the baboon population was in short supply. Pigs can be bred rapidly and be raised free of diseases in sterile sties. The advances in genetic engineering will make it possible to change the pig , as its tissues are less compatible with the human immune system than the baboon's. Mark Hardy, head of transplant surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in N. Y. City, says that the mood for zenotransplants (pig) is upbeat. "The field is beginning to mature." We also propose that the first pig transplants be temporary--to keep patients alive for a few months while waiting for a human organ. This idea is also supported by Elliot Leibowitz, president of Biotransplant Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts. (1996-NandoNet) Laboratories where zenotransplantation work is advancing at Nextran and Imutran. Dr. White, from Cambridge Medical University, is the co-founder of the Imutran company. Dr. White states that the "combination of genetically altered pigs and tolerance would be most powerful" in zenotransplants."(1996-NandoNet) Sach, an outstanding immunologist from Harvard University Medical School, has his zenotransplant work currently being commercialized by Imutran. Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., in New Haven, Conn., also does zenoplant research for commercialization. Amidst all the advances in zenoplant research, many scientists agree that the preferred choice for patients is human organs.(14 Genetically altered pigs bred for organ transplants)

Significance of Proposed Improvement

The significance of all these innovations is that organ procurement is increased so that in 1997, the supply of organs can reach the demand. Our of 50,000 waiting list recipients, only approximately 20,000 recipients actually received transplants in the last two years. UNOS, the United Network Organ Sharing should continue its active role in organ donation. Using multiple approaches to organ procurement should help the world achieve its needed number of human organ transplants. (14 Genetically altered pigs bred for organ transplants)


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