At the tearful behest of an AIDS patient’s mother and sisters, government advisers recommended Friday that the man be allowed to get a bone marrow transplant from a baboon - even though they fear it will kill him.
“This is wonderful,” said Kim Getty, as she raced to telephone the news to her brother Jeff at his San Francisco home.
Scientific advisers to the Food and Drug Administration weren’t so optimistic. They warned that the experiment not only will likely kill Getty but must be carefully controlled to ensure that diseases the baboons carry don’t spread to humans.
“This probably will hasten his death, not prevent it,” said Dr. Hugh Auchincloss Jr. of Massachusetts General Hospital.
But if Getty, who is 38, accepts the risks and the doctors follow strict precautions, the panel said, the operation should go forward to prove whether baboons, who don’t get AIDS, hold a key to fighting the fatal disease.