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Your New Liver, Thanks to Dolly

chicago dyke's picture

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.

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Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

verifiable reasons for people, particularly young women of eastern European (read former Soviet Socialist Republic) citizenship, to come to the US on visas. Sometimes they go home again in good health. Often they do not.

There is but one way for a newspaperman to look at a politician and that is down." Frank H. Simonds

Jakebnto's picture
Submitted by Jakebnto on

The brain is not just an organ, with a well defined function. It is also the seat of what makes us, us, and I don't quite get how you would transplant brain parts. It's almost as if the author intentionally chose and inflammatory approach to the subject, because that is certainly CD's take - sentient sheep. Now THAT is way ick.

On the other hand, I'd like to see the day when when we have sentient space sails, so long lived and so home in space that the distance between star systems is as the blink of an eye. Now THAT would be a clone to die for.


The problem with medical advancement is this: once we can do something, we must. Not to be a Ludite, but the time to decide the morality of such things is before they exist. Once there is a clear choice between preserving the life (regardless perhaps of the quality) of a child versus the suffering of an animal, it's pretty tough to plead the sheep's case to the parents. But in the larger view, what choice have we made for humanity? What are the limits? I don't know, but I do know one thing. Once the box has been opened, you never get it factory sealed again. Perhaps this is the very thing that the parable of Eden warns us against.