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Organ Farm
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered January 1983 Since January 1983, FRONTLINE has served as American public television's - PBS - flagship public affairs series. Hailed upon its television broadcast debut as "the last best hope for broadcast documentaries," FRONTLINE's stature over 23 years is reaffirmed each week through incisive documentaries covering the scope and complexity of the human experience. Series release date: 1/1983

Program Description

1912: Imagine a world where every patient who needed an organ transplant could receive one right away and a simple surgical procedure could correct everything from strokes to spinal cord injuries to Parkinson' s disease. Such a future may not be far off thanks to xenotransplantation, the experimental process of transplanting genetically modified pig cells and whole organs into human beings. But while a scientific breakthrough in cross-species transplants could offer hope to millions of desperately ill patients, such procedures could introduce new retroviruses and other infectious agents into the human population, posing a public health risk to millions of others. Do the benefits of xenotransplantation outweigh the still-unknown dangers? FRONTLINE offers viewers the first television investigation into the multibillion dollar xenotransplantation industry. With exclusive access to a secret transgenic organ farm somewhere in North America, FRONTLINE presents cutting-edge footage of the organs being developed and an unprecedented glimpse into a bio-secure, air-locked barrier world where science fiction may soon become science fact. 1913: In Part II of “Organ Farm,” viewers meet patients whose lives have been transformed thanks to experimental pig-cell transplants. Victims of strokes, Parkinson’s Disease and other debilitating illnesses describe how their participation in breakthrough clinical trials gave them back precious physical and mental functioning—and their quality of life. Viewers also meet a patient—the first in the world—whose life was saved when doctors connected him to a transgenic pig liver outside of his body until a human transplant organ could be found.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Public Affairs
Chicago: “FRONTLINE; Organ Farm,” 03/30/2001, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 13, 2018, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_24FFDF5C9BD54A17A281A6CA71C7E60F.
MLA: “FRONTLINE; Organ Farm.” 03/30/2001. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 13, 2018. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_24FFDF5C9BD54A17A281A6CA71C7E60F>.
APA: FRONTLINE; Organ Farm. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_24FFDF5C9BD54A17A281A6CA71C7E60F
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