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interviewFRONTLINE presents Organ Farm


These interviews with xenotransplant researchers, medical ethicists and animal rights advocates help convey a clear picture of the scientific, medical, ethical and public policy challenges of xenotransplantation - the transfer of organs between members of different species.

four patients
animal welfare
the business
the regulators

Jonathan S. Allan, D.V.M.

Dr. Allan has done extensive research into the origin and nature of simian retroviruses as a scientist in the Department of Virology and Immunology at Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research. He serves on the FDA's Advisory Subcommittee on Xenotransplantation, as well as the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Xenotransplantation. Since 1994 he has been working to highlight the risks of infectious diseases from animals to humans in the transplant setting. In this interview, Allan discusses the potential threat of other unknown viruses beyond the PERV virus. (Interviewed Winter 2001)
Hugh Auchincloss Jr., M.D.

Auchincloss is associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and associate visiting surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, as well as chair of the FDA's Subcommittee on Xenotransplantation. He serves on the editorial board of the journals Xenotransplantation and Transplantation Reviews. He believes that although there is not enough data to justify whole organ xenotransplants, we should proceed with limited, carefully monitored cellular xenotransplant clinical trials. (Interviewed Spring-Winter 2000)
Fritz Bach, M.D.

Bach is professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and director of the Immunobiology Research Center. He is on the editorial board of the journal Xenotransplantation. Bach and colleagues have called for a moratorium on clinical trials until the public fully understands the risks and benefits of xenotransplants. (Interviewed Winter 2001)
Alan H. Berger, M.B.A., C.P.A.

Berger is Executive Director of the Animal Protection Institute, a national animal advocacy nonprofit organization in Sacramento, California. Since 1994 his research has centered on the ethics, economic cost and alternatives to xenotransplantation. He is a member of the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Xenotransplantation. (Interviewed Winter 2001)
Michael Bishop

Bishop is the president of Infigen, Inc., a private biotechnology company, which specializes in cloning and gene mapping. In this interview, he explains how the company is working on creating and cloning genetically modified pigs and the impact this will have on xeno transplant technology(Interviewed Spring-Winter 2000)
David K.C. Cooper, M.D., PhD

Cooper is an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, and an immunologist at the Transplantation Biology Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the editor of the journal Xenotransplantation and the co-author of Xeno: The Promise of Transplanting Animal Organs into Humans (Oxford UP, 2000). He believes pig organ survival in baboons should last three to six months before human clinical trials can proceed. (Interviewed Winter 2001)
Norman Daniels, PhD

Daniels is a professor of medical ethics at Tufts Medical School, as well as the Goldthwaite Professor in the Tufts Philosophy University Department. He joined Fritz Bach in his 1998 call for a moratorium on xenotransplants pending further public discussion. He has consulted on issues of justice and health policy for the UN, the WHO and the President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine. In his interview with FRONTLINE, he addresses some of the holes in the FDA's xenotransplantation guidelines. (Interviewed Winter 2001)
Walid Heneine, PhD

Heneine is the Chief of the Molecular Epidemiology and Zoonoses Section, HIV and Retrovirology Branch of the National Center for Infectious Disease of the Centers for Disease Control. His primary research involves the monitoring of risks posed by exposure to animal retroviruses. In this interview he discusses the PERV virus threat, but argues that limited human clinical trials should proceed with caution and stringent monitoring. (Interviewed Spring-Winter 2000)
Dan Lyons

Lyons is director of Uncaged Campaigns, an animal rights group in the UK which in May 2000 received a stack of leaked internal documents on xeno experiments on primates. He is a specialist in the ethics of xenotransplantation, which he is currently researching for his PhD qualification. His work has appeared in the Bulletin of Medical Ethics, the Medical Law Review and in a textbook for law students. (Interviewed Spring 2000)
David H. Sachs, M.D.

Sachs is professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and director of Transplantation Biology Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the founding editor of the journal Xenotransplantation and currently sits on its editorial board. Over the past twenty-five years, Sachs has bred a line of miniature swine for use in xenotransplantation. In this interview, he discusses his discovery that one particular line of these miniature swine does not transmit the PERV virus. (Interviewed Spring-Winter 2000)
Daniel R Salomon, M.D.

Salomon is the an associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine at the Scripps research Institute in La Jolla, California, and chair of the FDA's Biological Response Modifiers Advisory Committee. He also serves on the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Xenotransplantation. While he believes maintaining public safety is paramount to moving forward with xenotransplantation, he also argues "If you regulate the technology out of existence before the technology has shown any evidence of its promise, then you've robbed future generations of a tremendous boon." (Interviewed Winter 2001)
Thomas E. Starzl, M.D., PhD

A pioneer in the field of transplantation, Starzl performed the first successful liver allotransplant in 1967. In 1992 and 1993, while at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, he performed two unsuccessful baboon-to-human liver transplants. In this interview he describes his current research, which is focused on understanding how chimerism -- the coexistence of donor and recipient cells in a transplant patient -- can potentially help lead to organ acceptance, known as tolerance. (Interviewed Spring-Winter 2000)
Robin Weiss, M.D.

Weiss is a virologist at University College, London. In 1997 he and colleagues documented two infectious strains of the PERV virus that could infect human cells in the lab, leading to the FDA's temporary halt of all clinical xeno trials. (Interviewed Spring-Winter 2000)

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