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Attitudes to Xenotransplantation: Scientific Enthusiasm, Assumptions and Evidence

P J Mohacsi, J F Thompson, S Quine

Ann Transplant 1998; 3(2): 38-45

ID: 497386

Published: 1998-06-12


The use of xenografts could relieve the chronically inadequate supply of human organs for transplantation, but doubts have been expressed about the general acceptability of transplanting animal organs into human. Some researchers and clinicians have chosen to ignore negative attitudes towards clinical xenotransplantation, assumingthat people will automatically embrace this new technology when it becomes available.A review of eight studies of attitudes to xenotransplantation did not reveal overwhelming support for it. Particularly negative views were expressed by acute care nurses. Primates have been the donors of choice in clinical xenotransplantation to date, but their continued use is a highly contentious option; the preferred animal donor is now clearly the pig. Animal farming for xenotransplantation is generally regarded as acceptable since animals provide food for man and are an accepted source of items for human use such as heart valves and insulin. Open debate about xenotransplantation must now take place, and present attitudes may change as a result of this. However, it remains to be seen whether xenografts will be widely accepted and used, and the extent to which the chronic shortage of organs for transplantation will thereby be alleviated.

Keywords: attitudes, Xenotransplantation, Evidence



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