The Jeuns

Ethical Considerations of Using Pig Organs for Human Transplants

May 23, 2024 | by The Jeuns

Scientists have successfully performed genetically modified pig kidney transplants in living patients twice this year, utilizing CRISPR technology to make pig organs more compatible with the human body. This breakthrough comes at a crucial time, with over 100,000 Americans on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, but only 17,000 likely to receive one, as reported by the National Kidney Foundation.

While the concept of using genetically engineered pigs for organ transplants offers hope for addressing the organ shortage crisis, it is still in the early stages of development. The experimental surgeries were performed under the FDA’s compassionate use care, and further clinical studies are needed before this method can be widely adopted.

Despite the urgent need for more organ donors and the high mortality rate among those waiting for a kidney transplant, some bioethicists raise concerns about the ethical implications of using genetically modified pigs. This debate comes amidst ongoing efforts to revamp the organ transplant and donor system to improve efficiency and access to life-saving treatments.

As the field of kidney transplantation continues to evolve, it raises questions about the future of organ donation and the potential role of genetically modified animals in addressing the growing demand for transplantable organs. The journey towards a future where organs from pigs could provide a sustainable solution for patients in need is still a long way off, but the recent success of these experimental surgeries marks a significant milestone in the ongoing quest to save lives through innovative medical advancements.

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