Rome says animal organ transplants are OK, for now
The Pontifical Academy for Life has tentatively approved the transplanting of animal tissues and organs into human bodies in order to combat life-threatning illnesses.
The Academy brought together specialists early this month to consider the issue.
The consensus was that the use of animal organs and tissue should be regarded as a 'bridge solution' that is "capable of saving the life of a patient in imminent danger of death, while awaiting the reception of a compatible human organ."
However the expers acknowledged the need for further consideration of the matter.
In its statement, the Academy for Life said it was specifically concerned with the ethical content of transplants from animals, namely, "their therapeutic significance, [and] the anthropological and ethical repercussions of surmounting barriers between one species and another."
Among the participants at the meeting were transplant experts from Cambridge, Harvard and London, and members of the International Court of Justice.