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Therapeutic Medicine Essay

1505 words - 7 pages

3.4) Possible Risks

3.4.1) Reactivation of Viral Vectors

Concerns have been raised regarding the spread of porcine viruses through the xeno-transplanted organs. Pigs have been discovered to contain Porcine Endogenous Retroviruses (PERVs) which are fragments of viruses that are millions of years old. By transplanting porcine organs into humans, reactivation of these PERVs may occur. Scientists say that the risks of these PERVs reactivating and the spread of porcine viruses to humans is unlikely however, the risk of the formation of a new strand of diseases is still imminent and care should be taken by the scientists as not to accidentally create a new strand of human disease that could ...view middle of the document...

Therefore, the allergic reactions experienced by humans will only become known in the near future after comprehensive studies have taken place.

3.5) Ethical Debate

The technology being used is new and still inefficient in that the surplus of animals that are being genetically modified contrasts the few results yielded from the studies. This leads to the argument that too many innocent animals, usually cows and pigs, are being exposed to harmful procedures that endanger their lives and more often than not, end them. Altering the genetic makeup of an organism has proven to cause unanticipated side-effects experienced by the organism. This was seen when a group of genetically modified livestock experienced lameness, organ failure, increased stress and reduced ability to conceive offspring as a result of their procedures (Ormandy, 2011).

Animal rights activists question the need for genetic modification and the creation of transgenic organisms. The aim of a xeno-transplantation is to save the lives of humans, however, the animals being used as donors are being killed in the process, therefore, the rights of the animals should be taken into account. Animal rights advocates are opposed to the idea of sacrificing an animal for the benefit of humans. They believe that it is against nature to combine a human with an animal tissue. They also question the effect that the genetic modification will have on the welfare of the animals involved. Humans have the right to their possessions. In the same way, animals have the right to their organs that they possess. It is said that by taking an organ or tissue from an animal for research or transplantation, it is a violation of animal rights (Ormandy, 2011).

4. Conclusion

In conclusion, the use of transgenic organisms and genetic modification is definitely crucial to the development of therapeutic medicine in the future. As seen above, there are many areas in which the genetic modification of organisms will benefit and has benefitted mankind greatly. The possibilities with genetic modification in the therapeutic medicine sector are endless: A solution to the worldwide malaria epidemic has been discovered, the answers to the worldwide need for transplant organs are being researched, developed and used, the insulin shortage has been solved and diabetics can now receive the insulin they need, the human immune system will be able to be strengthened to fight off diseases and possibly cure cancer. There are countless other discoveries to be made in the therapeutic medicine sector, however, much research needs to be done to make these discoveries.

In addition to all of the success that genetic modification will bring, there are hurdles that need to be overcome. There are risks that arise from these procedures such as the reactivation of dormant viruses and the formation of new allergies. Along with these risks comes the ethical debate. Animal Rights and ethics need to be taken into account and this will cause...

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