In Paris, the French National Assembly’s lower House of Parliament took up discussion of a bill to address the direct cooperation between French and Chinese hospitals, the impact of French transplant experts training Chinese doctors, and the role of French pharmaceutical companies in advancing China’s transplant industry which is known for its kill-on-demand system of harvesting organs from living prisoners of conscience. The legislation would, if passed, require greater transparency from French and Chinese hospitals on the nature and extent of collaborations and ensure transplant organs are ethically sourced with free and informed consent from voluntary donors.
Researchers at the University of Alabama in Birmingham completed the transplantation of a genetically modified pig kidney into a human being. The patient’s body, considered legally brain dead at the time of the transplant, did not reject the organ because of the manipulation of the pig’s DNA to produce organs that are tolerated by the human immune system. Lead researcher Dr. Jayme Locke gave the shortage of organs as the justification for the procedure. Universities in Maryland and New York have also carried out similar studies on genetically modified pig organs transplanted to humans in recent months.
The recent social media fascination with a mother of 8 children who was chained up in rural China and thought to have been a victim of human trafficking has shone a spotlight on mainland China’s human trafficking problem. What is less understood is the connection between child trafficking and illicit organ transplantation. The difficulty in procuring ethically sourced organs from children for children makes trafficked children a particularly lucrative source for organs.