Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Xenotransplantation Research Paper

Xenotransplantation Research Paper

In recent years, there have been many advances in the field of biotechnology. With these advances, have come the arguments of how this information should be used, and how ethical these new processes might be. One of these processes includes xenotransplantation. Xenotransplantation is a process in which animal organs are used for vital organ transplants to humans. This process is controversial for obvious reasons, but requires further examination. Besides just vital organs, there are many other types of transplants that can also be performed. These transplants include skin grafts, corneal transplants, and bone transplants. This is done to try to solve the worldwide problem of the shortage in human organs. The amount of organs available cannot compare to the amount of organs needed, therefore xenotransplantation is performed, and a human can receive a vital organ or other life saving material from an animal. Xenotransplantation could also be used to cure other diseases where there is a shortage of human materials available. These incurable diseases include diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. Currently, there are no existing cures for these diseases. This new process has caused many arguments concerning how ethical the exploration into this new surgery really can be. Many people argue that research on this project should be continued because it has the potential to save millions of lives and cure multiple medical problems. But others think that research in this field should end immediately because of the people and animals that might suffer in order to perfect this surgery. Xenotransplantation is a surgery that could be very beneficial to mankind; therefore research in this area should be continued.

Approximately ten people die each day waiting for the transplant of a vital organ in the United States alone . Xenotransplantation could be a safe way to solve this problem, causing a lower death rate in this area, and this statistic could be altered greatly. The availability of animal organs is far greater than that of human organs and therefore would greatly improve a patient’s chance of transplant options. If doctors were able to use animal organs for transplants, then the amount of vital organs available would increase drastically, therefore decreasing the amount of deaths. This surgery has the potential to save ten lives per day in the United States alone, therefore research into this field should definitely be continued.


Currently, most of the research is centered on the suppression of rejection and infection caused by animal organs. Also, a large focus is now centered on the gene splicing and cloning of pigs to aide in the success of this surgery. This would help perfect xenotransplantation by preventing rejection and infection. It would also lower the amount of immunosuppressive drugs that were necessary for each patient. This is a plus because the surgery could be performed successfully with less pain and problems for the patient. Also, antibiotics would not be as necessary for the recovery of the patient. With more research this type of surgery could create a huge and very important advance in medicine relating to the shortage of vital organs.

Patients are more likely to die waiting for a human donor heart than in the first two years after surgery . This means that it would be much safer to have xenotransplantation performed then to wait for a human organ. The chances for survival would also be greater in this situation because the patient would not have to keep waiting to receive a functioning organ. Even though some patients might not be willing to receive an organ from an animal, it would be more likely that they would survive this way. Because of this xenotransplantation will become a more common option as time goes on.

In the US as few as 5% of donor organs needed become available . Based on this statistic, many people will have to consider xenotransplantation as an alternative to human donors because human donors are becoming scarcer, as alternate donors are becoming more abundant. There is an 85% success rate for xenotransplantation1. This is another statistic that further supports the need for exploration of xenotransplantation. As technology advances, so will this statistic, moving the percent success rate closer to 100%. The more times that this surgery is performed and experimented on, the more successful it will become. Problems may be encountered with this new surgery, but so far, many of the problems that have been encountered have already been solved. This shows positive growth in the surgery. Also, it shows that this surgery has the ability to grow and improve if time and research is invested into it. This is also something that should encourage more patients to be open to ideas of xenotransplantation in order for survival.

Xenotransplantation could supply the world with more then just vital organs. Tissue xenotransplants could include skin grafts for burn patients. Also, corneal transplants for the visually impaired, or bone transplants for limb reconstruction is possible. This shows other ways that xenotransplantation could benefit society. It would not only make more vital organs available, but other life saving elements as well. These surgeries are more common than the transplants of whole vital organs and have been date back longer then the process of xenotransplantation with vital organs. The success rates for these surgeries are much higher due to the fact that they have been practiced and researched for a longer period of time. This is evidence that xenotransplantation improves as time goes on and therefore the exploration of transplanting vital organs should be further explored and researched. It also supports the theory that xenotransplantation could be used to solve more than the shortage of vital organs. It could solve the shortage of many vital materials for human survival. If a surgery has this kind or potential then it should be explored for the sake of the many lives it could save.

Organ transplants could include whole hearts, lungs, livers, kidneys, or pancreases. This surgery has the ability to end the worldwide shortage of organs. Xenotransplantation could potentially provide an unlimited supply of cells, tissues, and organs for humans . This technology has a huge potential to save millions of lives. Any surgery with such potential should be explored in the fullest way possible. If a technology such as this was perfected the problems it could solve would be endless. It could be the sure to multiple disease and shortages present in the world today. As of now, there are no other possible solutions to these problems that are as far along as xenotransplantation. Therefore, this may be the only option for many years. Because of this, scientists should do everything that they can to improve and perfect this surgery. Even though this surgery may not be common now, the more it is researched the more people it will be able to save. Also, the more research that is performed in this area, the more successful it will become. This is another factor that will aide in this surgery becoming more common. Once many people know about this surgery, it will gather a larger group of supporters. These supporters will be able to aide in the fight for this surgery. This will help to get more funding and research done in this area. More research in this area could cause the discovery of a solution to many problems that is unsolvable as of now.

Drugs such as cyclosporin have been developed to help humans to accept organs from animals. These drugs help humans fight infection and rejections that may be experienced from the animal organs. Some common rejections that may occur include hyperacute rejection, acute humoral xenograft rejection, and acute cellular rejection. Problems with hyperacute rejection have been researched and are now solvable. This type of rejection can be fought with antibiotics and immunosuppressive drugs. However, scientists have not found a solution to acute humoral xenograft rejection. They have been able to damper its affects and allow the patient to live longer, but not found a complete sure yet. This area is being actively pursued in the present. Acute cellular rejection is uncommon and has not been found in any long-term survivors of xenotransplantation surgeries.

Rejections and infections can also be caused when a human receives an organ from another human, but this problem is already being solved in the field of xenotransplantation. New drugs have been created to make this surgery more successful. This shows that over time, this surgery is improving, which means that research on this surgery should be continued. If this surgery has an 85% success rate now, then it should not take scientists much longer to move this number to 100%. If this was done, then the problems of vital organ shortages could almost be solved. Many more people would survive each day, because they would not have to wait so long to receive an organ that was vital to their health. If research on these new drugs is continued, then they could improve these drugs also, which would aide in making this surgery 100% successful.

Scientists have overcome cellular rejection by using immunosuppressive drugs, like cyclosporin, which control cellular rejection. Cyclosporin is a drug used to help fight infection or rejections when a human is receiving an organ form an animal 1. This shows that improvements are being made as time goes on. The more time that was spent on this surgery, the more improvements that could be made. Emphasis is shifting to the use of less Immunosuppression and provision of appropriate levels of immunosuppression for individual patients . With concentration on the needs of separate individuals, instead of mankind as a whole this surgery has become more successful.

This concentration on individuals shows a grasp of the technology involved in this surgery. If scientists are able to explore this process more it would lead to an even further understanding then they have now. With the introduction of new immunosuppressive medications, short-term survival rates have improved dramatically. Scientists and researchers have already found ways to improve survival rates for this surgery. If more time and funds were allowed for research in this area even more improvements would be made. This technology will definitely improve as time goes on.

Recent developments in pig cloning and gene targeting may enable the production of genetically altered pigs that do not cause the same problems of immune rejection. The breeding or engineering of disease-free pigs could also offer a possible solution to the risk of endogenous pig viruses . Pigs with the hDAF gene properly incorporated into their DNA will express the hDAF protein on their membrane surfaces. That is, scientists are able to splice the gene coding for the hDAF protein into a pig’s genome so that the pig’s organs have the “human species” labels. This opens up a lot more possibilities for this surgery. Immunosuppression drugs might not even be necessary if scientists were able to do more work on genetically altered pigs. Genetically altered pigs would aide in the transplants of all organs and other life saving devices. Multiple solutions are already being discovered to the problems encountered when performing xenotransplantation. These discoveries are improving the surgery more and more. These discoveries have occurred because time and funds were spent on researching these problems and possible solutions. If scientists were able to solve the many problems they have already dealt with, then there is no reason that this surgery will not improve as time goes on. Researchers have shown the more funds and time that is dedicated to this subject, the more solutions and advances they can make.

Xenotransplantation could solve a lot more then just organ shortages. Cellular transplants may provide treatment for people with diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s diseases. The single most effective therapy for it is xenotransplantaion. Preventative therapies have little impact on disease due to end-stage organ failure and are unlikely to have an impact in the next decade . If there are no likely solutions in the next decade then this possibility should definitely be explored. There are no other solutions as of now, so this possibility is the only hope as of right now. Even if this surgery cannot be perfected within the next decade it will still get patients closer to survival then nothing. If anything, it may be able to prolong a patients like until a definite and complete solution is available to that patient. All of these diseases, like organ failure, can result in death. Xenotransplantation could prevent this and save many lives around the world. There are no other known cures to these diseases, so xenotransplantation would not be hurting any patients. It would only be helping and giving a chance of survival to someone who wouldn’t have one otherwise. Moreover, recent evidence has suggested that transplantation of cells and tissues may be therapeutic for certain disease such as neurodegenerative disorders, where again, human materials are not usually available

These facts show that xenotransplantation could solve so many problems and become the solution to incurable problems present in today’s society.

A bridge surgery is a temporary transplant using an animal organ. When a human organ is available, another transplant will be performed. This is another one of the various ways that xenotransplantation could benefit mankind. This way, they would be in a more stable condition and would be able to wait for a human organ. It could be used as a normal transplant or as a bridge surgery, giving patients choices. Bride surgeries could also be helpful if a patient has a bad reaction from the animal organ. Because the waiting lists for vital organs are so long, xenotransplantation could be used while a patient is waiting for a human donor. If a rejection occurs that is not fixable, then they would be closer to getting a human organ and the problem or the transplant could be solved. This could help to extend a patients life to the amount of time necessary for a human organ.

Then the animal organ could be removed and replaced with a human organ. This could also help to solve the problems of rejection from animal organs. This is true because if a rejection occurred then a patient would be closer to receiving a human organ and a second surgery could be performed.

One of the arguments that are used against this surgery is that this surgery is in the beginning stages of development and is still very risky. This is true, but I do not think that it should be used as an argument against this surgery. All surgeries were at one time, in the beginning stages of development. If they are not pursued, then they can never be perfected. When anything is being invented or created things will go wrong in the process, but the outcome usually outweighs the losses on the way. People could die as a result of this surgery, but these people would have died anyway if they did not have an organ donated to them. But, some people could survive; therefore this surgery would be saving lives. The more times this surgery is performed, and the more research that is put towards it, the more people it will be able to save. This surgery has a huge potential to save the lives of millions of people waiting for a vital organ transplant.

Xenotransplantation is one of many of the new controversial fields of bioethics. In my opinion, research in this area should continue. I think this because in the future this surgery could help to save the lives of millions of people. It could be used to solve a lot more then just vital organ shortages. It could be the answer to many incurable diseases as well. There are a few arguments against it, but most of them could be solved with more time and research. For example, some people say that funding should not be put into such a risky surgery. This surgery will be perfected once more research is done, but research cannot continue without funding. All important and life saving surgeries were risky at one time; if research and funding are not put into them then they will stay this way. Medicine is not, and will never be an exact science. People will always react differently to different medical situations. I think that this surgery could help to revolutionize the way that transplants are done today, and with so many people dying because of the lack of vital organs available, it is imperative that research in this field continues. This topic may be controversial, but xenotransplantation could cause major benefits for mankind in the future, if it is researched effectively. Using organs from animals, or xenotransplantation could be the answer to all problems concerning the lack of vital organs available for transplants and more.

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