Dr. Robert Elliott in New Zealand has successfully transplanted microencapsulated pig islets into two people with diabetes with no adverse effects, and with measurable insulin production where previously there was none. With this success behind him, Dr. Elliott prepared for additional clinical trials later this year. Unfortunately, the New Zealand Ministry of Health intervened and stopped all further xenotransplantation trials. Originally, the ministry said it would be issuing its decision in April 1997, a date which has long since come and gone.
Those who are working to eradicate diabetes will be interested in the
process and the people who are deciding whether we will be allowed to enjoy
the benefits of islet xenotransplantation, the only promising cure for
diabetes that we have, or whether it will be blocked by a process over
which we have little control or input. The following letter is from
the Honourable Bill English, Minister of Health for New Zealand.
Does anybody out there know what "cultural safety" is? This concern is referenced twice, so I assume it is the primary consideration.
If you would like to write to the New Zealand Ministry of Health about this decision that will affect the lives of our children, our families, and ourselves, Mr. English can be reached as follows: