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Animal To Human Transplants Allowed in Australia

An old joke: Do you want a new heart? Then get one from a gorilla - "grunt!"

This is not a joke any longer. Australia has just given the go ahead for animal-to-human transplants. This is a turn around from the outright banning of such transplants in 2004. There are two conditions: one, a monitoring system must be in place: and two, there must be a patient register. New Zealand allowed transplants in 2005. The first "transplant" involved implanting insulin producing pig cells into volunteer diabetics.

This change has happened when direct research on animals such as chimpanzees is being reduced because tests can more effectively be done in a test tube. Results in many instances are quite different for chimpanzees, for example. This was discovered in AIDs research when chimpanzees didn't get AIDs. They became carriers of the disease. Animals are proving more useful when material at a cellular level is transplanted. Using animals as hosts is far more beneficial than just infecting them and seeing what happens. Soon, infusion of material to patients suffering from Parkinson's disease will begin.

The medical world is hoping that research done in Australia will be of a high standard and will add to knowledge about new medical techniques. Great care is needed in housing animals such as pigs in sterile environments. It is hoped that improved transplant success from animals will reduce the waiting lists for organ transplants.
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