Heart transplantation from pigs to humans: Three points that cause resistance

Heart transplantation from pigs to humans: Three points that cause resistance

Since the first xenotransplantation was successfully performed, aspects of using pigs to save human life have been questioned.

In this photo, published by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, members of the surgical team perform a pig heart transplant on patient David Bennett on Friday, January 7, 2022, in Baltimore.
In this photo, published by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, members of the surgical team perform a pig heart transplant on patient David Bennett on Friday, January 7, 2022, in Baltimore.

Became an American The first person in the world to have a heart transplanted from a pig Genetically modified.

David Bennett, 57, who doctors said was too ill for a human being, is feeling well four days after seven hours of experimental treatment.

The operation is welcomed by many As a medical advancement that can reduce the waiting time for a transplant and It changes the lives of patients all over the world. But some are wondering if the procedure can be ethically justified.

They noted potential moral issues related to patient safety, animal rights, and religious concerns.

Members of the surgical team show a pig heart transplanted to patient David Bennett
Members of the surgical team show a pig heart transplanted to patient David Bennett

So how controversial is it to transplant pig organs?

Medical results

This is an experimental operation and Poses a great risk to the patient. Even well-matched organs of a human donor may be rejected after transplantation, and in the case of animal organs the danger is greater.

Doctors have been trying to use animal organs for decades Known as xenotransplantationMixed successfully.

In 1984, doctors in California tried to save a girl’s life by giving her a baboon (primate) heart, but she died 21 days later.

While such treatments are very, very risky, some medical ethicists say they should still be continued if the patient is aware of the risks.

“You can never know if a person will die after a catastrophic treatment, but you can not go without risk,” said Professor Julian Savulescu, chair of practical ethics at Uehiro University at Oxford University.

“Until an individual understands the full range of risks, I think people should be able to consent to these radical experiments.”He added.

Photo: Pexels
Photo: Pexels

Savulescu said it was important that they be given all possible options, including mechanical heart support or a human transplant.

Doctors working on Bennett’s case say the operation was justified because he had no other treatment and would have died without it.

Savulescu said that before any surgery, the procedure should be subjected to “very rigorous testing on non-human animals and tissues” to ensure its safety.

Bennett transplantation was not performed as part of a clinical trial; As is usually required for experimental treatment. And the medicines given to him have not yet been tested for use on non-human primates.

But Christine Lau, a surgeon at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who was involved in planning the Bennett procedure, said no shortcuts were made in preparation for the operation.

Dr. Bartley Griffith with patient David Bennett in Baltimore.
Dr. Bartley Griffith with patient David Bennett in Baltimore.

“We have been doing this for decades in the laboratory, in primates, trying to get to the point where we think it is safe to offer it to a human recipient,” he told the BBC.

Animal rights

Bennett treatment too Revived the debate Use of pigs for human transplantationWhich many animal rights groups oppose.

One of them, the Animal Ethics People (PETA), condemned the Bennett pig heart transplant. As “unethical, dangerous and a huge waste of resources.”

“Animals are not warehouses for raids, they are complex and intelligent creatures,” PETA said.

Photo: Pexels
Photo: Pexels

Activists say it is wrong to change animal genes to make them more human-like. Scientists have modified 10 pig genes whose hearts were used to transplant Bennett so that his body would not reject it.

On the morning of the operation, the pig had his heart removed.

A spokesman for Animal Aid, a UK-based animal rights group, told the BBC he was opposed to animal gene modification or xenotransplantation “under any circumstances”.

“Animals have the right to live their lives without genetic manipulation because of all the pain and trauma that follows, only to be killed and their organs removed,” the organization said in a statement.

Some activists They are concerned about the unknown long-term effects of genetic modification on pig health.

Katherine Devolder, a bioethics researcher at Oxford University, says we should only use genetically modified pigs for organs if we can “ensure they are not overly damaged.”

Photo: Pexels
Photo: Pexels

“Using pigs for meat production is much more problematic than using them to save lives, but of course this is not a reason to neglect animal welfare in this regard,” he said.

religion

Another dilemma may arise around those whose belief may mean that it is difficult for them to obtain an animal organ.

Pigs are selected because the relevant organs are similar in size to humans and because pigs are relatively easy to breed in captivity.

But how does this choice affect Jewish or Muslim patients whose religion has strict rules regarding animals?

Although Jewish law prohibits Jews from raising or eating pigs, taking pork heart “is in no way a violation of Jewish dietary laws,” said Moshe Friedman, a London rabbi who is part of a group of moral and ethical advisers from the UK Department. Health.

“Since the primary concern in Jewish law is the preservation of human life, A Jewish patient would be forced to accept a transplant from an animal if he offered it “The greatest chance of survival and the best quality of life in the future,” Friedman told the BBC.

There is a similar conclusion for Islam that the use of animal material is permissible if it saves man.

Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta, the country’s central religious authority, said in a fatwa that swine heart valves are allowed if “there is a fear of the patient’s life, loss of one of his organs, exacerbation or continuation of the disease.” , Or the absolute deterioration of the body. “

Savulescu argued that even if someone refused to transplant an animal for religious or ethical reasons, it was not necessary It should be given less priority in anticipation of human organ donors.

“Some may say that as soon as you have the opportunity to receive an organ, you should go down the list; “Others will say that you should have the same rights as anyone else.”

“These are just positions we will have to reconcile.”

BBC World

Source: La Nacion

follow: