Lozier: Pass rules now over 'squeamish' experiments

Lozier: Pass rules now over 'squeamish' experiments

Lozier: Pass rules now over 'squeamish' experiments

Promising progress is being made on organ transplants but a medical ethicist says legal guidelines are desperately needed to research chimeras, which have animal and human characteristics.

Scientists are researching the cloning and breeding of pigs so their organs can be used for transplant to humans. In scientific terminology, that is referred to as “xenotransplantation,” which has proven to be very successful and promising. 

Dr. David Prentice of the Charlotte Lozier Institute tells AFN that could be an ethical use of the research to benefit mankind.

“The way they made this was they essentially were able to transplant without making an unethical hybrid of the pig,” he explains. “So there's a good possibility that this might be able to meet some of that demand.”

Prentice, Dr. David (Charlotte Lozier Institute) Prentice

There are transplant-approved patients who die because of a lack of availability of donor organs, which makes that research vital, but there is also unethical research going on to give human characteristics to animals, such as use of the human brain, or using human eggs or sperm.

“Or others,” he adds, “that just make people squeamish: the idea that maybe you have a sheep with a human face or a monkey that might have human hands.”

Dr. Prentice says the bottom line is there needs to be oversight and laws to regulate it, and it's something Congress needs to revisit. One attempt to do so, he says, has failed.