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Xenotransplantation offers the potential to meet the critical need for heart and lung transplantation presently constrained by the current human donor organ supply. Much was learned over the past decades regarding gene editing to prevent the immune activation and inflammation that cause early organ injury, and strategies for maintenance immunosuppression to promote longer-term xenograft survival. However, many scientific questions remain regarding further requirements for genetic modification of donor organs, appropriate contexts for xenotransplantation research (including non-human primates, recently deceased humans, and living human recipients), and risk of xenozoonotic disease transmission. Related ethical questions include appropriate selection of clinical trial participants, challenges with obtaining informed consent, animal rights and welfare considerations, and cost. Research involving recently deceased humans has also emerged as a potential novel way to understand how xeno-organs will impact the human body. Clinical xenotransplantation and research involving decedents also raise ethical questions, and will require consensus regarding regulatory oversight and protocol review. These considerations and the related opportunities for xenotransplantation research were discussed in a workshop sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and are summarized in this meeting report.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Transplant

Publication Date