BOSTON — In January 2002, the Campaign for Responsible Transplantation, a US-based non-profit group, brought a lawsuit saying that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is flouting the Freedom of Information Act by not releasing documents that could show whether xenograft trials have caused any adverse reactions. This month, quite unrelatedly, the FDA released guidelines that have been some three years in the making, recommending that xenotransplant recipients and their intimate contacts should not donate blood or blood plasma.

North of the border, the Canadians have just completed a public consultation into xenotransplantation (the transplant of animal cells, tissues and organs to humans). In Italy, the Vatican recently endorsed the practice. And ReNeuron, a UK-based company last week announced that, as its work with human cells has hit a snag, it intends to try treating Huntington's disease with mouse brain cells.

So, from the Vatican to the...

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