The Pros And Cons Of Xenotransplantation

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Animal experimentation is widely conducted for drug testing, medical training, education, as well as Research and Development (R&D). Over 100 million animals are killed in the laboratories annually, and they are physically and psychologically traumatised by experimentation (PETA, 2017; Live Science, 2017). However, the reality is that majority of animal experiments are unreliable. Most of their sacrifices do not contribute to improving human health as the medical treatments developed in animals rarely translate to human benefits due to the differing complexities between experimental animals and humans (PETA, 2017; Live Science, 2017). Hence, we argue that the role of animal experimentation in medical research is questionable.
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Xenotransplantation is the procedure involving the transplantation of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another, particularly from animal to human (NHMRC, 2017). The most widely studied animal species for xenotransplantation are pigs. Animals are genetically engineered to produce human cells or substrates, which are used to incubate human organs (Vermeulen et al., 2017). However, the ethical implications of such applications are debatable.
Since most of the animals involved in transplantation are genetically engineered (transgenic animals), xenotransplantation is viewed by many as an “unnatural” and inappropriate interference in nature (Manesh et al. 2014). Besides the deontological arguments, the consequences and complications of transplantation process lead to ethical issues. Before and after the transplantation procedure, the organ receiver must consume large doses of immunosuppressive drugs, which greatly affects their immune system. The lack of scientific evidence on the desired functions of transplanted organs on individual patients undermines the procedure’s
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