A recent episode of the medical drama Holby City has a 90 second clip that could prove a very nice introduction to the concept of xenotransplantation. In the episode “Better the devil you know“, first broadcast on September 6th 2006 (Sept 7th in Scotland), a terminally ill man has to come to terms with the fact that he can no longer receive the kidney transplant he had been expecting. Just at the end of the episode (starting 54 and a half minutes in), Dr Percival Durant (known as Abra, and played by Adrian Edmondson) tells the patient that he may be able to offer him a new solution and proceeds to give a very useable explanation of xenografts. This could lead easily into a discussion of the scientific and ethical problems with a transplant of this type. For those with access to the services of BUFVC, the TRILT identifier for the episode is 005BDB24. The actual operation takes place in the next episode “Star maker“ (September 12th/13th).
Xenotransplantation – Holby City