Genetic Engineering Solutions to Serious Health Problems Essay

Genetic Engineering Solutions to Serious Health Problems Essay

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b) On average, 4100 people are added to the waiting list of transplant organs each month in the United States of America and almost 20 people die every day from not receiving the organs that they greatly need. (Taranto, 2012)

The following graph illustrates the increasing gap between organ donors and organ recipients and the increase in demand for donor organs. This Graph refers specifically to Kidneys.

Deceased Donor

Living Donor

Number of people on waiting list .

Solutions to the rapid increase in demand for donor organs include:
• Xenotransplantation of animal organs
• Lab-organ-cultivation using the ‘seed-and-scaffold’ method of organ creation

Xenotransplantation is the complex process by which a human organ is replaced by an animal one. This procedure is risky and does not have high success rates whereby very few animal to non-human primates have been reported a success. (Shukla, 2011) Currently, only simple animal tissues such as valves, blood vessels and hormones are being transplanted into humans. These tissues come from pigs. Pig tissue is genetically similar to human tissue and is structurally similar to that of human tissue. There is a high risk of rejection when replacing human tissue with foreign animal tissue. Because the tissue is foreign, the body will build up antibodies to destroy the foreign tissue. This can only be avoided if immune-suppressive drugs are administered to the patient. These drugs aim to suppress the defensive immune system to allow the body to accept the foreign tissue, however these drugs are not always effective and the body will continue to build up a resistance to the foreign tissue until it is killed. If the immune system of the human body ...

... middle of paper ...

Unknown. (2002). Biotechnology and medical research. Retrieved 02 12, 2014, from Public understanding of biotecnology:
Unknown. (2002). New and genetically modified organisms. Retrieved 02 14, 2014, from Miistry forthe Environment:
Unknown. (Unkown). Genetically Modified Organisms and Biomedical Research. Retrieved 02 24, 2014, from California:
Yong, E. (2012, 08 01). Replacement Parts. Retrieved from The Scientist:

[Graph to show gap between kidney donors and kidney recipients from 1999 to 2008]Available at [Accessed 24-05-2014]

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