Controversy Behind Xenotransplantation

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“The world-wide, critical shortage of human organs available for transplantation and advances in genetic engineering and in the immunology and biology of organ tissue rejection have renewed scientists’ interest in investigating xenotransplantation as potentially promising means to treat a wide range of human disorders” (UNESCO Courier). Ever since the early 1900’s, xenotransplantation, “animal to human transplant” (Mail Online), is still debatable to this day. Many patients vote they would not allow this procedure to take place, but there is still a very minuscule percentage that is willing to take on this drastic procedure. It is never known when an organ suitable for a patient will be available, especially with “at least 180 000 people around the globe, including more than 3500 Canadians, awaiting organ transplants” (The Canadian Encyclopedia). Although animals are genetically changing to fit human needs, contributions are still being put forth to perfect this idea, and this procedure is a substantial temporary solution, xenotransplantation is an overall risky procedure, faces difficulties with finding a perfect match, risks transfer of harmful diseases, as well as rejection from foreign organs, and detrimental attempts of the procedure are on record. Xenotransplantation is a risky procedure which should not be contemplated . It is true, of course poor, innocent animals are genetically altering to fit human needs, but going to the extremes of animal cruelty is unacceptable. “By doing this, researchers hope that the body’s immune system can be tricked into recognizing the non-human organ as ‘self’ and hence not attack it” (Natural Life). For the most part, pigs are the key guinea pigs; more so in today’s analysis. “Some pigs have been genetically modified [so] they no longer produce a pig protein, galactosyltransferase, which the immune system would have attacked” (BBC News), providing one less concern to worry about when dealing with xenotransplantation. It is no surprise scientists are full of determination to find a successful approach to this idea; henceforth, pigs are undergoing countless tests and experiments to make this transplant an accomplishment. For instance, “Researchers [create] transgenic animals by injecting a human gene into pig’s embryos and letting the pigs produce successive generations through normal breeding” (The Canadian Encyclopedia). However, the human body may reject the incoming foreign organ, potentially causing immediate death. In fact, the mishap of organ rejection is already occurring and has been for nearly a century now, in which case, the percentage of acception will most likely remain low in present and future examination. “Researchers in various countries have tried to save human patients with animal parts since early in the century. But the outcome has always been [a] quick and utter failure -- the human body rejects and destroys an animal organ within minutes” (Globe and Mail ). To avoid immediate rejection, precautionary measures are put in place beforehand. Surgeons place the patients on “the immune-suppressive drug regime” (Natural Life), that way there will be greater hopes of the finicky human body accepting the foreign organ. Additionally, if the injection does happen to follow through, eventually will be an unfortunate turn around and turmoil will grow, or worse, complete breakdown. “The longest recorded survival rate occurred in the 1960s where the recipient lived for nine months with a chimpanzee kidney (Natural Life). The major obstacle with xenotransplantation occurs due to the humans’ protective immune system which will by no means, ever agree with alien tissues. Undoubtedly, xenotransplantation only exists as a considerable temporary solution to many organ donation problems, but xenotransplantation will not solve all issues. Since there are thousands of people who wait days for a specific organ there is just not enough to supply. The numbers of recipients keep rising,...
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