Xenotransplantation & Stem cells – Holby City

This episode is a bit of a bioethics-fest!  In addition to the xenotransplantation storyline started in the previous episode, there is also a discussion of the clinical use of stem cells, and some ethics of whether or not to honour a “do not resuscitate” order thrown in for good measure.  Several sections could prove useful for introducing xenotransplantation (6:30 to 7:40; 10:06 to 11:00; 29:14 to 30:28).  I think that the clip from 10 minutes into the episode is the most valuable discussion start; in a conversation between Abra and Mickie several of the main safety concerns are clearly expressed.  For more on the science and ethics of this procedure, see a Bioethics Briefing on Xenotransplantation that I wrote a couple of years ago.

Regarding stem cells, the best clip is from 22:13 to 23:30.  In this section, Gina (who is suffering from Motor Neuron Disease) discusses with her doctor whether or not she should fly to Singapore for injections of stem cells.  This is the sort of procedure that was also being discussed in Susan Watt’s excellent Newsnight investigation into experimental stem cell therapies (a streamed video can be reached from this link).

2 Responses to Xenotransplantation & Stem cells – Holby City

  1. […]  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). […]

  2. […] stem cells market is expected to reach US$63.8 billion by 2015, with a CAGR of 24.2% during 2010-15Xenotransplantation & Stem cells – Holby City var analyticsFileTypes = ['']; var analyticsEventTracking = 'enabled'; var _gaq = _gaq || […]

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