- Transplantation from one species to a foreign one. The rationale for xenotransplantation has been the short supply of human organs for transplantation. Perhaps the most famous case of cross-species transplantation was that of a heart from a baboon to Baby Fae in 1984, performed by Dr. Leonard Bailey at Loma Linda University, California. Baby Fae lived for 20 days after the operation. The first to show that nonhuman organs could be transplanted to humans and function for a significant period of time was Dr. Keith Reemtsma (1925-2000). At Tulane University in New Orleans Dr. Reemtsma in 1963 and 1964 gave chimpanzee kidneys to 5 patients in the first chimpanzee-to-human transplants. The recipients died (of infection) from 8 to 63 days after receiving a chimpanzee kidney. Then, in 1964 Reemtsma transplanted a kidney from a chimpanzee to a 23-year-old teacher. She lived with it for 9 months until succumbing to overwhelming infection. Her case, together with that of a man who survived 9 weeks, surprised experts and provided hope that xenotransplantation may someday be fully successful. The prefix "xeno-" means foreign. It comes from the Greek word "xenos" meaning stranger, guest, or host. (Xenophobia is fear of foreigners). Xenotransplantation is synonymous with cross-species transplantation.
* * *xe·no·trans·plan·ta·tion -.tran(t)s-.plan-'tā-shən n transplantation of an organ, tissue, or cells between two different species (as a human and a domestic swine)
* * *n.the transplantation of organs from one species into another. Experimental work into the feasibility of transplanting pig organs into human beings is under way. It includes the genetic manipulation of pig embryos to produce animals whose organs produce a human cell-surface protein and would therefore not be rejected at transplantation.
Medical dictionary. 2011.