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The Beast Within: Implanting Animal Organs into Humans

by brain teaser  |  10 years, 11 month(s) ago

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The Beast Within: Implanting Animal Organs into Humans

 Tags: animal, Beast, humans, Implanting, organs

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  1. silver spoon
    Are animal-to-human organ transplants the future of medicine? Getting an organ these days is no easy task. Currently, there are more than 100,000 people on waiting lists for organ donations in the United States, but fewer than 30,000 transplants were performed in 2008. The Mayo Clinic estimates that in the United States, 17 people die each day while waiting for a suitable organ to come along. Complicating the donation deficiency is the fact that people in need of kidney transplants comprise at least three-quarters of the waiting list. Meanwhile, Americans’ insalubrious diets, sloth-like tendencies, and general unhealthiness—all of which increase the need for kidney transplants—also end up limiting the pool of possible donors. And, to make matters grimmer still, even if you check the organ-donor box on the back of your state I.D. card, it doesn’t mean much; about one-third of willing donors end up going to the grave with their organs because family members and significant others don’t sign the final consent form. It’s quite the conundrum. So what to do? Increasingly, the argument for harvesting organs, tissues, and cells from animals is picking up steam. It sounds like the stuff of sci-fi, but a growing number of scientists are arguing for—and trying to accomplish—just that. The most recent experiment is in New Zealand, where a clinical trial will inject eight diabetic patients with pancreatic cells from pigs. This experiment has pushed the controversial field, known as xenotransplantation, under the public microscope once again.

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