Transplant mini organs in humans?
To find out whether we can safely and effectively transplant mini organs, we have to test this on people. Who would like to discuss the ethical aspects in a focus group?
Imagine: a living lump of human cells in a petri dish in a laboratory… This may seem like science fiction, but researchers are already now growing mini organs from human tissue! In the future, these organoids may constitute an alternative to organ transplants. When you transplant mini organs, such as mini livers, the organs repair from the inside out. They can also divide infinitely, so the stock never runs out.
From lab to human
Before we can know whether we can transplant mini organs safely and effectively, we first need to test this on humans. Something that has never yet been done anywhere in the world. The step from lab human is the most difficult. It is impossible to know beforehand how mini organs will behave in the human body. Will they grow as we want them to grow? Will the body reject them?
The Wilhelmina Children's Hospital (WKZ) and the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht are willing to take that step.
Research into organoid transplantation: is it ethically responsible?
It is therefore essential to carefully consider a responsible setup for the first study with humans. How much risk should we accept? Should children be included in such a study? It is also wise to think further ahead. What if a commercial party starts storing and selling the mini organs? Are we already going too far with the idea of engineerable humans?
Join in the discussion!
We are curious to know what you think about these and other questions concerning the transplant of mini organs. Are you over 18 and would you like to take part? Then contact Sarah Boer, who is a doctor and researcher at UMC Utrecht. S.firstname.lastname@example.org or 0887568640. You can find more information here.
You will be able to discuss in a focus group (max 10 participants) on 5 July in Utrecht. Travel expenses will be reimbursed. Previous knowledge of mini organs or scientific research is not necessary. Sarah Boers can first give you more information on the meeting.
The focus group is part of the study, 'The ethical aspects of first-in-human organoid transplants,' which is being financed by ZonMw. The Medical Humanities Department of UMC Utrecht is responsible for execution, in collaboration with WKZ, the Hubrecht Institute and the Dutch Patient Organisation for Metabolic Disorders (VKS).