[ASC-media] SPECIAL PRESS RELEASE - NEWSCIENTIST 29 MAY 2004
Sapier, Jeff (RBI - AUS)
Jeff at NewScientist.com.au
Wed May 26 08:55:58 EST 2004
EMBARGO: NOT FOR PUBLICATION BEFORE:-
AUSTRALIAN TIME : 04:00 HRS AEST THURSDAY 27 MAY 2004
EUROPEAN TIME : 19:00 HRS BST (18:00 HRS GMT) WEDNESDAY 26 MAY 2004
US TIME : 14:00 HRS ET WEDNESDAY 26 MAY 2004
SPECIAL FEATURE: THE BOLDEST CUT
NEWSCIENTIST MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE: 29 MAY 2004 (Vol. 181 No 2449)
Gory, but fascinating, the idea of using face transplants has divided
opinion between doctors, ethicists and patients over recent years. Can
surgeons really remove the faces of the newly deceased and successfully
transplant to people with disfigurement?
Sceptics have questioned whether such a transplant would be worth the
side-effects of anti-rejection drugs, or whether the family of a donor would
recognise their loved one in the face of the recipient. But an American
medical team at the University of Louisville in Kentucky thinks the risks
are worth taking, and are in the process of requesting formal approval to
carry out the world's first face transplant. NewScientist has learnt that
the team is about to submit a lengthy document detailing their plan to a
university ethics committee or Institutional Review Board. In a 6-page
feature, the team speak to David Concar who has been following the story.
The Louisville team has been using the faces of bodies donated for medical
research to practise this groundbreaking operation. The results of these
practice sessions, they claim, suggest that a transplanted face will not be
recognisable as either the donor or the recipient - in effect creating a
third face. To explore this more fully, NewScientist's special report
includes the results of a virtual face transplant commissioned from a
leading London animation company. The results of this virtual transplant
will also be shown in a TV documentary (co-produced by NewScientist and UK
TV company Mentorn) on the same topic.
Face Transplant, the TV documentary, will be shown on Discovery Health
Channel in the US at 8pm on 28 May and the UK's Channel 4 at a later date.
Australian broadcast yet to be confirmed.
- ENDS -
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