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Selected Publication:

Farahat, T.
Xenotransplantation - Fiction or Reality?
Humanmedizin; [ Diplomarbeit ] Medical University of Graz; 2019. pp. 112 [OPEN ACCESS]


Authors Med Uni Graz:
Stiegler Philipp

Xenotransplantation describes a general, not necessarily human-medical method of transferring organs, tissues or cells across species borders. Not only the implantation method, but also the adaption and successful integration into the physiology of the recipient are of essential importance. In the field of human medicine, xenotransplantation opens up new approaches to increase the quality of life in patients with acute organ failure. Xenotransplantation therefore extends allogeneic organ donation, which in many cases is the only method of rescuing seriously ill patients in the event of an organ failure. The research-relevant high degree of current relevance of xenotransplantation is primarily fueled by the fact that there is a worldwide shortage of allogeneic human donor organs. Alternative approaches, such as artificial organ substitution or molecular biotechnological organ repair describe concepts of regenerative organogenesis but are currently limited to the state of basic research. Due to the lack of human donor organs about every third patient in need of a transplant is currently on the waiting list. Allogeneic human organ transplantation today already has a high success rate. Eventually, "waitlist-related" deaths are avoidable today if sufficient numbers of donor organs are available. The introduction and application of xenotransplantation raises a plethora of questions that cannot be studied exclusively within the disciplinary boundaries of the natural sciences. It is ethically of the highest importance to convince society, science and legislators to improve the conditions of organ availability and to look for alternative options. Undoubtedly the development of xenotransplantation as well as the evaluation of feasibility and risks depend first and foremost on scientific advances in knowledge. However, before the method can be tested for clinical applications one has to consider existing scientific and humanistic framework conditions and possible ethical, social, economic and legal consequences of xenotransplantation for patients, organ sources, medical staff and society. Due to the current research situation artificial replacement of organs or biotechnological organogenesis cannot be applied in a goal-oriented manner as a substitute for allogeneic organ donation in human medicine. In view of this, xenotransplantation plays an important role as an alternative medical procedure - even if only for life-support in emergency situations - to save patients from clinical death until a suitable allograft is available.

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