According to David Cooper’s study entitled ” The role of genetically engineered pigs in xenotransplantation research” an organ shortage kills at least 10 Americans everyday. Scientists are eager to find a solution, and xenotransplantation could be the fix. According to the FDA, Xenotransplantation is any procedure that involves the transplantation, implantation, or infusion from one living species to another. These implants or infusions include monkeys and pigs, but pigs are most often used due to their adaptability of their organs to human organs. The first successful human-to-human organ transplant was performed in 1954 when a kidney was transferred between two identical twins. Since then, there have been many adaptations to how organ transplants are conducted. However, due to the United States’ voluntary organ donation there is a shortage of organs needed. Now, doctors and scientists are evolving ways to use pigs to save haman lives. As this topic enters debate, there are many people who think using pig organs in human lives is not acceptable and unethical. This essay serves to tell you why we should consider xenotransplantation. Xenotransplantation should be considered because it reduces the length of time many people have to wait for a suitable organ, and would allow transplants to occur while the recipient is still strong and somewhat healthy and better able to tolerate surgery, and it is a good use of the resources we have around us.Xenotransplantation could be viewed as a life saving answer for many awaiting organ transplants. In the past, there has been conflict over the fact that pigs have the presence of galactosyl (GAL) moieties linked to the cell surfaces of animal tissue. This enzyme is known to turn other enzymes into glucose. Now obviously humans don’t have this cell trait; this means the human immune system would reject the implanted organ. Transplanting a pig organ into a human isn’t the easiest thing, the pig organ is seen as an alien so it would not be accepted by the human body. Scientists are now using Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat, or CRISPR to edit the DNA of pigs to make their organs more human like. Pigs also have different proteins of which humans don’t have. CBS news found a study that said if you put human and pig cells together the viruses will go straight to the human cells. With the use of CRISPR the chances of the viruses being eliminated are higher. Thus, making the transplant of pig organs to humans more successful. Recent studies show that scientists are working on canceling these pig like proteins out, bringing us a step closer to using pig organs in human transplants. The United Kingdom has established an embargo on clinical trials and has set up a national regulatory authority to oversee and coordinate the development of research, establish guidelines, and decide on when trials can proceed to conduct research. In the United States on the other hand, the overall attitude is to “proceed with caution”, and the food and drug administration has approved a number of xenotransplant studies. The pig, although domesticated and familiar, is too distant to evoke the same feelings that we have for primates, has the correct size organs, is probably less likely to pass on infections, breeds rapidly, and is not endangered; moreover millions of them are eaten every year. Animal rights activists believe it is morally unacceptable to sacrifice an animals life for human benefit. Xenotransplantation raises a host of ethical and practical issues, with one being; Do we have the right to take animals’ organs to save humans lives? Proponents of “Animal Rights” firmly oppose xenotransplantation as well as any kind of commercial use of animals, such as food, research and even pets! PETA, probably the largest well known of these animal rights groups calls xenotransplantation “Frankenstein science.” In fact in 1999 they formally asked the U.S. food and drug administration to ban all xenotransplant experiments. On the other side is the argument that human needs trump animal rights. AIDS patient Jeff Getty, who underwent an experimental xenotransplantation of baboon bone marrow in 1995, contended in a 1996 letter to the Wall Street Journal, “You can’t be for AIDS, breast cancer and diabetes research and also support militant animal rights groups” because animal research is essential to scientific progress against disease. Australian philosopher Peter Singer condemns that “Animals deserve equal consideration of interests, pain is pain whatever the species of being that experiences it.” (Getty, 1995) The NAS observed that most people would accept the use of pigs “because these animals are traditionally used as a source of food, are distant from humans phylogenetically, and fall much lower on the personhood scale.” According to the Nuffield bioethics any decision about the use of animals for medical purposes will be made by the Home Office Inspectorate, in consultation, when necessary, with the Animal Procedures Committee. In principle, the use of animals for xenotransplantation would come within the control of the 1986 Act, since aim would be the treatment of disease. Any reputable company producing animals in order to supply organs and tissue for xenotransplantation would, in any case, be licensed under the 1986 Act in order to reassure the public that their activities were meeting the highest standards of animal welfare. In the end, the issue boils down to the same question that arises over the use of laboratory animals. And the tradeoff is the same. “The argument,” says Vanderpool, “comes down to whether we think that a responsible use of animals is ethically permissible – not an irresponsible use, but very targeted, using as few animals as possible, using pain-free methods.” It is likely that xenotransplanted organs will require levels of immunosuppression at least equal to the required of human organs. Immunosuppression is the partial or complete suppression of the immune response of an individual; It is induced to help the survival of an organ after a transplant operation. It has been argued, however, that the development of transgenic animals will result in animal organs, that require lower levels of immunosuppression that are required for human organs. If this happens to be true this would help reduce the cost of immunosuppressive treatments. Once again, making Xenotransplantation ethical when it comes to human organ transplants.People have several different views on xenotransplantation; One view on xenotransplantation is that it represents yet another attempt by human beings to deny their own mortality. That simply is not the case, i’m almost positive that if a transplant patient could have the option between a human organ and a pig organ they would quickly choose the human organ. The reason we need pig organs is because of the massive shortage of human organs available in the united states. When assessing the impact of xenotransplantation, it’s necessary to consider how a person’s perception of their body, and of their identity, or self image might be affected. A huge factor to consider is the possible effect upon willingness to donate human organs. Families of deceased humans tell BODY that it is a great comfort to them know the organs of a loved one have been passed on to save another’s life. Xenotransplantation could jeopardize that feeling, but is highly unlikely. Using pig organs has many benefits such as, pigs are easy to breed and have large litters, pig organs are the most similar to humans in respect of anatomy, and organs will be available immediately. Through my research I have decided it is ethically acceptable to sacrifice an animals life for human use. To prove my point, an estimated 100 million pigs are slaughtered in the US each year as sources of meat, and 600 million are killed in China to provide heparin. (Heparin is a blood thinner) So if people are fine with slaughtering pigs for their own nourishments, why is it unethical to use pigs to save the lives of others?
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