Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pig Lungs May Soon Save Human Lives

Here's some news about which only animal rights believers will be upset: Scientists have developed a technique for maintaining pig lungs that could permit them to be used in human transplantation within five years. From the story:
Scientists in Melbourne, Australia, used a ventilator and pump to keep the animal lungs alive and "breathing" while human blood flowed in them. Experts estimated the work could lead to the first animal-human transplants within five years. Dr Glenn Westall, who helped conduct the experiment, said: “The blood went into the lungs without oxygen and came out with oxygen, which is the exact function of the lungs. "It showed that these lungs were working perfectly well and doing as we were expecting them to do. “This is a significant advance compared to experiments that have been performed over the past 20 years." The breakthrough came after scientists were able to remove a section of pig DNA, which had made the pig organs incompatible with human blood.
Obviously, there is much work left to do. But if this works, it will save many lives. Question, what about the worry of porcine viruses crossing the species barrier?

That point aside, yet again we see the tremendous value of animal research. While one can make the moral argument that it is wrong to sacrifice pigs for humans--I disagree but respect the argument--I don't think one can say with intellectual integrity that such experiments do not provide significant real and potential human benefit.

No comments:

Post a Comment