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With approximately 48,000 individuals on the waiting list for organ transplants and only about 4,835 people donating their organs after death each year, there are around 3,000 yearly deaths for those who do not have these organs available to the them (1). Consequently, medicine has turned to an additional yet somewhat controversial source for organ donations: animals. The term xenotransplantation is defined as "the transplantation of living organs, cells or tissue from one species to another..." (2). The obvious and primary benefit of such a procedure is increasing the number of new leases on life that medicine can issue to the thousands waiting for organ transplants. Nevertheless, a variety of ethical issues are raised by such practices, ranging from the treatment of animals to the effects of xenotransplantation in crossing the species border. Xenotransplantation is by no means a new concept in medicine. Combining parts of different species dates back to Greek lore of over 3,000 years ago in the forms of centaurs (half man and half horse) and the Chimera (a mixture of goat, lion and serpent). In terms of medical procedures, the earliest example of combining man and animal parts was in 1682, when a Russian physician repaired a man's skull using the bone of a dog. After the turn of the 20th century, doctors began grafting tissues from animals to humans, a prime example of this being in 1905, when a French surgeon used slices of rabbit kidney to treat a child suffering from kidney failure. As exploration into xenotransplantation continued with other animals such as pigs, goats, lambs and monkeys, doctors began to notice that these transplants would fail in relatively short amounts of time, lasting for only weeks at best. It wasn't until the 1940's, when the cause for these transplantation failures, and thus the most significant setback within xenotransplantation, was identified as a crucial connection between the immune system and the rejection of a transplanted...
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