This title was first published in 2003. Xenotransplantation - the transplantation of animal organs into humans - poses a fascinating moral dilemma. Should this ability to extend the lives of millions of older people be permitted given that it might trigger a new pandemic similar to AIDS? This study examines the moral dilemma from a combination of humanistic, legalistic, bioethical, economical and technological perspectives. The first part of the book demonstrates that xenografts are the only realistic near-term technological answer to the organ shortage problem. The balance of the book is devoted to assessing whether doctrines such as the 'right to health care' trump the moral and ethical conundrums posed by xenotransplantation. The book concludes with a 'geoethical' solution that proposes authorization of xenotransplantation subject to the prior implementation of a new international organization for epidemiology and basic health care. It also suggests that the costs of operating such an organization could be covered by a global tax on xenografts.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: the organ shortage is a major problem that defies conventional solutions; Brave new organs: the status of technological solutions to the problem; Look before you leap: technological risks of xenotransplantation; Of pigs and men: issues of speciesism and chimerism; The right to life: society's obligation to provide health care and xenotransplantation; Is xenotransplantation worth the risk?; A geoethical solution to the conflict between private and public interests in xenotransplantation; Summary; Bibliography; Index; Credits.
Martine Rothblatt is an attorney, medical ethicist and biotech executive. Dr Rothblatt has been principally responsible for two global agreements as well as for the International Bar Association's Human Genome Treaty draft now before the United Nations. She is also the founder and chief executive of United Therapeutics, a US-based firm with an approved medicine for pulmonary hypertension, a frequent cause of lung or heart-lung transplantation.
'Martine Rothblatt has provided an engrossing story of the complex interaction of ethical, technical, medical, public health and individual rights issues associated with the life-saving technique of xenotransplantation. Can the procedure be designed to acceptably decrease or eliminate the possibility of transmission of infectious agents from the transplanted animal organ to the patient and from he or she to others? The author presents a formidable case in favor of these surgical advances that have the capability of providing organs to many who might otherwise die.' Baruch S. Blumberg, MD, PhD, Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1976 'Martine Rothblatt offers an intriguing solution to the dilemma of xenotransplantation. She provides a practical roadmap for using porcine organs to replace diseased hearts, livers and kidneys, without giving rise to epidemics caused by viruses that leap the species barrier via xenografts. This book will encourage scientists, clinicians, healthcare policymakers and bioethicists to incorporate xenotransplantation into medicine's armamentarium for life-threatening disease.' Sir John Vane, FRS, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1982 'The application of every scientific discovery has the potential to benefit mankind with an associated cost. This is a courageous book which addresses a major moral dilemma that emerges from progress in xenotransplantation. The author guides us through a moral maze with a sure hand and the minimum of fuss. The book is a significant and important contribution to the emerging debate between the rights to health care versus the dangers of transmitting new diseases from animals to humans.' Professor Raymond Dwek, University of Oxford, UK 'How do we balance the urgent need to save lives through xenotransplantation with the danger of introducing new communicable pathogens? Martine Rothblatt does more than just answer this critical question; she provides a compelling paradigm for confronting a broader question: how do we