Australia bans animal to human transplants
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2004:
PERTH–The Australian National Health & Medical Research
Council in mid-September 2004 imposed a five-year moratorium on
animal-to-human transplants, called xenographs.
“There were ethical concerns, there were social concerns,
but the major area of concern were the risks,” NHMRC chair Alan
Pettigrew told news media. “There were risks to health, not only of
the individual but to their immediate family, and from there to the
In July 2002 the NHMRC issued draft guidelines that allowed
researchers to exprimentally transplant parts from genetically
modified pigs into humans. These guidelines have now been narrowed.
Pettigrew said that the NHMRC had decided the organs from
nonhuman primates should not be transplanted into humans in any
future clinical trials. Therapies involving use of animal cells but
not entire organs are still under review, he said.
The Australian rejection of xenographs followed a
recommendation by the United Kingdom Xeno-transplantation Interim
Regulatory Authority that persons who receive transplants of animal
organs should agree to lifelong medical supervision, and should
never have unprotected sex, because of the risk of acquiring
previously unknown diseases from the animals used.
A public opinion survey by the Wellcome Trust, the world’s
largest medical research charity, found in June 2004 that the
British public largely shares the negative view of xenographs often
expressed by anti-vivisectionists.