DLRM PRESS RELEASE-----------------------
POSITION STATMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENTS
ON THE CLONING OF PIGS INTENDED TO PROVIDE ORGANS FOR TRANSPLANTATION
INTO HUMAN BEINGS
March 16, 2000
Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine (DLRM) remain
steadfast in their call for a ban on animal-to-human organ
transplants (xenotransplantation), based on the following:
- There is still no convincing scientific evidence to indicate
that the problem of animal organ rejection in human patients
is about to be solved. Indeed, all of the animal-to-human
solid organ transplants to date have been a dismal failure.
- From a public health perspective, xenotranplantation represents
a virologist's nightmare. Transplanting a living animal
organ teeming with micro-organisms, into the human body,
and thus bypassing the body's natural defence mechanisms,
is equivalent to injecting a massive dose of viruses directly
into the body. All that is required to produce a new epidemic
(like AIDS) is just ONE successful transmission of a disease-causing
virus from animal to man.
- The UKXIRA (Xenotranplantation Interim Regulatory Authority),
which is the government appointed advisory committee studying
the subject, does not have on it a single representative
of a patients' rights or a consumer protection organisation.
- The UK public has heard no mention of what would happen
to a person who became infected as a result of an animal
organ transplant, in terms of medical insurance. Would persons
infected in this way be covered by national medical insurance,
or would they be in the same sad situation as the thalidomide
victims of the sixties, who had to challenge the pharmaceutical
manufacturer in court?
- Too little attention has been paid to alternative solutions
to the human organ shortage. These include the wider use
of living donors (e.g. 45% living kidney donations in Norway,
compared to only 5-10% in the UK), the use of artificial
part-organs (e.g. hearts), and even diets which have been
proven to reverse advanced cases of heart disease.
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