Tag Archives | Organs

Seven Sentenced To Prison In Case Of Teenager Who Sold His Kidney For An iPad

Was it worth it? Shanghai Daily reports:

A surgeon and six others were jailed yesterday over their involvement in the case of a teenager who sold a kidney to buy an iPhone and iPad. He Wei, who organized the illegal transaction, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, and Song Zhongyu, the transplant surgeon, was sentenced to three years with a reprieve of five years.

Wang Shangkun, a 17-year-old high school student from Anhui Province, agreed to sell one of his kidneys after he found the group through an online chatroom. His kidney was transplanted to a recipient in Chenzhou on April 28, 2011. Wang was given 22,000 yuan (US$3,529) and bought an iPhone and an iPad with the money. But he later suffered renal failure and told his mother what had happened.

Human organ trade and organ donations from living donors, except for close family members such as spouses and blood relatives, are illegal in China.

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China to Cut Prison Organ-Harvesting Programs

Picture: Gray's Anatomy (PD)

Via Al Jazeera:

China plans to implement a new national donation system which will allow the government to phase out next year the practice of removing organs from executed prisoners to be used in transplant operations.

China’s health ministry said yesterday that a new national organ donation system is being developed after officials said using organs from death-row prisoners was neither ethical nor sustainable.

“Now there is consensus among China’s transplant community that the new system will relinquish the reliance on organs from executed convicts,” Wang Haibo told the World Health Organisation’s journal Bulletin.

“The implementation of the new national system will start early next year at the latest. This will also mark the start of phasing out the old practice.”

Wang was appointed last year by China’s health ministry to design a system to fairly and efficiently allocate organs to people who need them.

The new system has been run for two years by the Red Cross Society of China across 16 regions of the country.

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Bioartificial Organs For Humans Now Being Grown In Labs

Man shadow anatomyMiracle Grow: In the future people who need a body part may get their own back—regrown in the lab from their own cells. Josie Glausiusz reports for National Geographic:

More than 100,000 people are waiting for organ transplants in the U.S. alone; every day 18 of them die. Not only are healthy organs in short supply, but donor and patient also have to be closely matched, or the patient’s immune system may reject the transplant. A new kind of solution is incubating in medical labs: “bioartificial” organs grown from the patient’s own cells. Thirty people have received lab-grown bladders already, and other engineered organs are in the pipeline.

The bladder technique was developed by Anthony Atala of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Researchers take healthy cells from a patient’s diseased bladder, cause them to multiply profusely in petri dishes, then apply them to a balloon-shaped scaffold made partly of collagen, the protein found in cartilage.

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Kosovo PM Heads Organ & Drug Ring According To Council Of Europe

Photo: Kosovo Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci

No, it’s not the plot to the next Hostel film.  Hashim Thaçi has been identified as the head of an Albanian crime network that sells drugs, weapons, and organs. The Guardian reports:

Kosovo’s prime minister is the head of a “mafia-like” Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report on organised crime.

Hashim Thaçi is identified as the boss of a network that began operating criminal rackets in the runup to the 1998-99 Kosovo war, and has held powerful sway over the country’s government since.

The report of the two-year inquiry, which cites FBI and other intelligence sources, has been obtained by the Guardian. It names Thaçi as having over the last decade exerted “violent control” over the heroin trade. Figures from Thaçi’s inner circle are also accused of taking captives across the border into Albania after the war, where a number of Serbs are said to have been murdered for their kidneys, which were sold on the black market.

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Sir, Your Liver Is Ready: Welcome to the Brave New World of Bioprinting Organs

BioPrintingDave Bullock writes in WIRED’s Raw File:

Say goodbye to donor lists and organ shortages. A biotech firm has created a printer that prints veins using a patients’ own cells. The device could potentially create whole organs in the future.

“Right now we’re really good at printing blood vessels,” says Ben Shepherd, senior research scientist at regenerative-medicine company Organovo. “We printed 10 this week. We’re still learning how to best condition them to be good, strong blood vessels.”

Most organs in the body are filled with veins, so the ability to print vascular tissue is a critical building block for complete organs. The printed veins are about to start testing in animal trials, and eventually go through human clinical trials. If all goes well, in a few years you may be able to replace a vein that has deteriorated (due to frequent injections of chemo treatment, for example) with custom-printed tissue grown from your own cells.

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Which Organs Can I Live Without, and How Much Cash Can I Get for Them?

Man_shadow_anatomyBy Bjorn Carey for PopSci:

First, a disclaimer: Selling your organs is illegal in the United States. It’s also very dangerous. Handing off an organ is risky enough when done in a top hospital, even more so if you’re doing it for cash in a back alley. No, really: Don’t do this. OK? OK.

There are many organs one can theoretically do without, or for which there’s a backup. Most folks can spare a kidney, a portion of their liver, a lung, some intestines, and an eyeball, and still live a long life. That said, donating a lung, a piece of liver or a section of intestines is a very complicated surgery, so it’s not done frequently on the black market. And no one’s going to make much cash on an eyeball. “In the U.S., there’s a fairly steady supply of donated corneas from corpses,” says Sean Fitzpatrick, director of public affairs at the New England Organ Bank.

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