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Xenotourism: Scary Stuff

Just came across an article on diabetics going to Mexico to receive pig xenotransplants. Unlike other forms of medical tourism, where patients travel to other countries for lower cost treatments, better quality treatments, or to receive ethically questionable organ transplants, xenotransplantation carries significant safety concerns.

Xenotransplantation is the transplantation of organs or tissues from non-humans (such as pigs) into humans. The potential to introduce new diseases which can spread among the general population – like AIDS – is a real threat, and needs to be evaluated and controlled if xenotransplantation is going to be a viable therapy. The case of xenotransplantation is an example of the need for progressive regulation. The inability to prevent individuals from travelling abroad to receive treatment creates an impetus to increase research into xenotransplantation to determine its safety and, if possible, develop guidelines for implementation in order to stem unregulated treatments.

Source article: Xenotourism and Xenotravel: Some notes on global regulation

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  1. Wow! Xenotourism, that’s a new one. And I’ve been researching international medical travel for three years now, as part of the just-published guidebook “Patients Beyond Borders.”  Agree that regulation is important, along with oversight of accreditation (local and international), in-country board certification of physicians and surgeons, best practices, et al. 

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