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Animal Transplants

May 8, 1999, p.A14 - The New York Times

To the Editor:

Just as transplanting hands may raise ethical questions (front page, May 2), so does the prospect of transplanting live organs, cells and tissue from animals to humans, called xenotransplantation. Food and Drug Administration guidelines published on April 6 instituted a de facto ban on transplants from nonhuman primates because it would expose patients and the public to a "significant infectious disease risk." But they failed to address dangers with other species.

Genetically altered pigs are being considered as the source for transplants, despite more than 25 diseases in pigs that can infect humans. Xenotransplantation is receiving substantial public financing without adequate public debate.

Alix Fano
New York, May 4, 1999
The writer is director of the Campaign for Responsible Transplantation.