Ethical issues regarding animal organ transplants to be discussed

Media Contact: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

Ethical issues regarding animal organ
transplants to be discussed
Lecture is part of URI’s Honors Colloquium

KINGSTON, R.I. — November 13, 2002 — Richard Rhodes, vice provost and professor of animal and veterinary science at the University of Rhode Island, will discuss both scientific advancements and ethical issues related to harvesting organs from other animals to save human lives.

His talk “From Animals to Humans: Progress, Prospects and Problems with Xenotransplantation” will be given Tuesday, Nov. 19 in Room 271 of URI’s Chafee Social Science Center from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Free and open to the public, the lecture is part of URI’s ongoing Honors Colloquium entitled “Genetic Technology and Public Policy in the New Millennium.”

Rhodes’ expertise in xenotransplantation (transplanting tissues or organs from animals to humans) stems from his background as an animal scientist with more than 25 years of teaching and research experience in animal reproductive physiology, endocrinology and stress biology. Rhodes is also a Fellow of the National Bioethics Institute and chair of the University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

In his talk, Rhodes will explain why xenotransplantation is a solution for certain medical problems. He will also discuss the physiology of transplantation and the cellular basis of rejection. And he will address the progress and problems with xenotransplantation, sharing how genetic manipulation of donor animals (pigs) may be a way to reduce organ rejection and potentially provide an infinite storehouse of transplantable organs.

He will conclude his talk by discussing the complex ethical and policy issues raised by xenotransplantation and offer some reflections on policies that might serve to address the issue. A question and answer period will follow.

Major sponsors for the colloquium series are URI’s Honors Program, The URI Foundation, Theta Chi Fraternity, The Providence Journal, the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, the Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation, and the URI President’s Office. Additional sponsors include URI’s Offices of the Provost and the dean of Arts and Sciences, College of Nursing, Student Entertainment Committee, the Multicultural Center, the John Hazen White Sr. Center for Ethics and Public Service, the URI Alumni Association, the Department of Communications/News Bureau and Matritech.

For more information, about the Colloquium contact the URI Honors Program at 874-2303.