No Pain, All Gain: The Case for Farming Organs in Brainless Humans

JME Blog, 10 June 2017
Authors: Ruth Stirton, David Lawrence
“It is widely acknowledged that there is a nationwide shortage of organs for transplantation purposes. In 2016, 400 people died whilst on the organ waiting list. Asking for donors is not working fast enough. We should explore all avenues to alleviate this problem, which must include considering options that appear distasteful. As the world gets safer, and fewer young people die in circumstances conducive to the donation of their organs, there is only so much that increased efficiency in collection (through improved procedures and storage) can do to increase the number of human organs available for transplantation. Xenotransplantation – the transplantation of animal organs into humans – gives us the possibility of saving lives that we would certainly lose otherwise.”
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‘I went to the web to find a new kidney’

BBC, 1 May 2017
Author: Lesley Curwen
“A growing number of UK patients have bypassed the traditional NHS system of organ allocation, instead harnessing the power of the internet to find their own. Transplant doctors fear this development could result in an unsavoury competition to attract donors online, in what some have called an “organ beauty pageant”. And they worry that it rips up the traditional health service ethos of equal access to treatment for all.”
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Smithfield makes move on market for pig-human transplants

Reuters, 12 April 2017
Authors: Julie Steenhuysen, Michael Hirtzer
“Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, has established a separate bioscience unit to expand its role in supplying pig parts for medical uses, with the ultimate goal of selling pig organs for transplantation into humans. Recent scientific advances for using pigs as a supply of replacement parts for sick or injured people, makes it an attractive new market. Transplants from animals could help close a critical gap to help those in need.”
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France introduces opt-out policy on organ donation

The Guardian, 3 January 2017
Author: Kim Willsher
“France has reversed its policy on organ donations so that all people could become donors on their death unless they join an official register to opt out. The new law presumes consent for organs to be removed, even if it goes against the wishes of the family. Until 1 January, when the legislation took effect, unless the person who had died had previously expressed a clear wish for or against donation, doctors were required to consult relatives who, in almost a third of cases, refused.”
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US transplant study may have violated federal rules

BMJ 2016; 355: i5956
Author: Michael McCarthy
“A large study assessing whether inducing hypothermia in brain dead organ donors would affect graft function in recipients of kidney transplants may have violated federal regulations by not considering the organ recipients as human participants, an investigation has found. The investigation was conducted by the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Research Oversight.”
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China touts reforms, vows to battle corruption in organ donation system

Reuters, 17 October 2016
Author: Michael Martina
“China has zero tolerance for non-voluntary organ transplants and is fighting corruption in its fledgling donor system, an official who has led reform said on Monday, as Beijing seeks to leave behind an era of controversial organ harvesting.”
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Ethico-legal issues related to ovarian tissue transplantation

Med Sci Law October 2016 vol. 56 no. 4 293-304
Authors: P Voultsos, N Raikos, N Vasileiadis, Ch Spiliopoulou, B Tarlatzis
“Ovarian tissue transplantation (OTT) is a promising experimental method which may soon become well-established. In cases of minor oncology, where patients’ fertility is seriously threatened by treatment, it may be applied as a unique fertility preservation option. OTT has a dual nature (‘organ’ and ‘gamete’). Many stakeholders are involved, including donor, recipient, child, health-care providers and society at large. There is considerable uncertainty about the long-term consequences of the application of OTT and OT cryopreservation (OTC). Thus, application of OTT gives rise to a number of very different ethico-legal issues and dilemmas which are hard to solve coherently through a principlism-based bioethical approach.”
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Curbing transplant tourism: Canadian physicians and the law

CMAJ September 20, 2016 vol. 188 no. 13
Authors: Timothy Caulfield, Amy Zarzeczny
“Organ transplants can be a life-saving option for individuals with organ failure, but access is often limited for various reasons, including an imbalance of supply and demand. Canadians are among those who travel abroad to obtain organs through commercial transactions. This practice — often called transplant tourism — has been condemned by the international community, including the World Health Organization, and is illegal in many countries, including Canada. Physicians can play a pivotal role in discouraging transplant tourism, particularly if they are supported by law and policy reform.”
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Monash University defends greyhound killing, says research needed for heart transplants

SMH, 12 September 2016
Author: Broede Carmody
“Monash University has defended killing greyhounds in the name of science, arguing an experiment where dogs had their hearts removed and new ones inserted before being euthanased will have a “valuable influence” on the thousands of people around the world in need of a heart transplant.”
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