Your New Liver, Thanks to Dolly
I'm not anti-science. Not at all. But this bothers me a tad. I guess I don't trust corporate farming practices to produce organ replacements in humane ways.
He has already created a sheep liver which has a large proportion of human cells and eventually hopes to precisely match a sheep to a transplant patient, using their own stem cells to create their own flock of sheep.
The process would involve extracting stem cells from the donor's bone marrow and injecting them into the peritoneum of a sheep's foetus. When the lamb is born, two months later, it would have a liver, heart, lungs and brain that are partly human and available for transplant.
"We would take a couple of ounces of bone marrow cells from the patient,' said Prof Zanjani, whose work is highlighted in a Channel 4 programme tomorrow.
"We would isolate the stem cells from them, inject them into the peritoneum of these animals and then these cells would get distributed throughout the metabolic system into the circulatory system of all the organs in the body. The two ounces of stem cell or bone marrow cell we get would provide enough stem cells to do about ten foetuses. So you don't just have one organ for transplant purposes, you have many available in case the first one fails."
At present 7,168 patients are waiting for an organ transplant in Britain alone, and two thirds of them are expected to die before an organ becomes available.
I confess I understand the 'ick' factor in all of this. I want an end to disease, but I don't want it at the cost of sentient sheep with human arms growing out of their bellies, cut off whenever a drunk cheerleader like Bush gets into a car wreck and needs one, knowing that he doesn't have to be careful or safe, because a new (whatever) is always in the vat...and then there's that "grown on a Chinese slave-body" question.