Animal-to-human transplant could be the key to tackling the organ donor shortage
I recently asked Brendan Parent, Director of Transplant Ethics and Policy Research and Assistant Professor of Bioethics and Surgery, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, if xenotransplantation — the transplantation of nonhuman tissues or organs into human recipients — could stop the illegal organ trade.
"That is one significant possibility," Parent tells me.
"The other is that there aren't enough animal organs to go around in the short term, so they are also added to the illegal trade. And then, people who are on the waiting list for organs — but way down — may go abroad to get pig kidneys or hearts as they're ineligible for human organs but also not sick enough to be enrolled in a clinical trial in their country," he says.