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The BBC's Sue Nelson
"Pigs are ideal animals for use in human transplants"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 14 March, 2000, 18:17 GMT
Cloned pigs: The reaction
New piglets
The pig clones: Good or bad?
The world's first pig clones were announced on Tuesday. Millie, Christa, Alexis, Carrel and Dotcom were hailed as a breakthrough in the efforts to find more organs for human transplant operations.

This was some of the reaction to the news:

  • Ron James, managing director of PPL Therapeutics.
    "All the known technical hurdles [for pig to human transplants] have now been overcome. An end to the chronic organ shortage is now in sight."

  • Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of ethics, science and health policy, British Medical Association.
    "What we are talking about is a technique that carries risks for the population at large, as well as the potential to save lives.

    "If we cannot ameliorate the risk then society has to say `Hold on, should we let this go ahead?', even when we know that we will be costing lives. The public has a right and a duty to consider this issue."

  • UK Department of Health.
    "We are a long way from xenotransplantation. There are currently no applications to the UK Xenotransplantation Interim Regulatory Authority for xenotransplantation.

    "There are a large number of issues which UKXIRA still needs to consider before xenotransplantation, such as the risks of cross-species infection."

  • Dr Donald Bruce, Society Religion & Technology Project, Church of Scotland.
    "Xenotransplantation represents a completely different way of using animals from anything humans have done before. Even in the cause of medical research, there are lines to be drawn.

    Xenotransplantation would be justified only if the efficacy in quality and length of life was so great that it justified what would otherwise be an unacceptable intervention in one of God's creatures with whom we share the planet.

  • Dr Patrick Dixon, author of the Genetic Revolution and a commentator on Cloning.
    "Scientists are ticking off which species they have cloned, pigs being the latest, leading inevitably towards humans. It will be very rewarding for the team which do it, and the first cloned baby will be the defining image of the start of the third millennium."

  • Michelle Thew, Chief executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection.
    "Our opinion poll shows over two thirds of the population want a freeze on pig to human organs transplants. The BUAV is calling for a moratorium to enable full public consultation on this potentially dangerous technology."

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    See also:

    14 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
    Scientists produce five pig clones
    14 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
    From pig clone to human transplant
    14 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
    Pig organ transplants much closer
    19 Aug 99 | Sci/Tech
    The history of xenotransplantation
    20 Aug 99 | Sci/Tech
    Pig transplants 'safe for humans'
    24 Jun 99 | Sci/Tech
    Q&A: What is cloning?
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