Tag Archives: organ fabrication

Should a human-pig chimera be treated as a human?

“Should a human-pig chimera be treated as a human?”–that’s the title of an article I came upon in Aeon.  https://aeon.co/ideas/should-a-human-pig-chimera-be-treated-as-a-person

It’s a variation of a question that I raise early-on in my technothriller,  A REMEDY FOR DEATH. In REMEDY, a researcher tries to implant brain cells from a human fetus into a young chimp. (Not a plot-spoiler: that is only a small part of the story.)

In the Aeon article, the focus is on the pigs that may be used to grow replacement human organs.

“In this case, the scientists take a skin cell from a human and from this make stem cells capable of producing any cell or tissue in the body, known as ‘induced pluripotent stem cells’. They then inject these into a pig embryo to make a human-pig chimera. In order to create the desired organ, they use gene editing, or CRISPR, to knock out the embryo’s pig’s genes that produce, for example, the pancreas. The human stem cells for the pancreas then make an almost entirely human pancreas in the resulting human-pig chimera, with just the blood vessels remaining porcine. Using this controversial technology, a human skin cell, pre-treated and injected into a genetically edited pig embryo, could grow a new liver, heart, pancreas or lung as required.”

So now suppose the human patient has a fresh new pancreas grown in the pig. But, once that pancreas is taken out, what about the pig?  Off to the pork-chop shop?  No! It’s not so simple. “It is not a pig with a human pancreas inserted into it—it is a human-animal chimera . . . This could affect the chimera’s brain.”

In short, maybe, just maybe, that chimera—whether pig or chimp—may have something approaching human brain function or other “characteristics that we usually think of as having moral relevance.”

Seems far-fetched that a pig or a chimp might begin developing human-like brains, but a whole lot of far-fetched stuff  is fast becoming reality in today’s world.

 

FOR MORE on human-animal chimeras and related topics including organ harvesting, growing human body parts, human stem-cells, mice given human brain cells, what is a human?, and others I invite you to check out my blog for A REMEDY FOR DEATH.  http://www.a-remedy-for-death.com/

Synthetic human embryos from human stem cells? Ethical issues on the horizon!

That’s where it all begins . . .  human life, that is. What you see is a scan of the surface of a human embryonic stem cell.  (Photo credit to David Scharf and Science Source. )

An article by Carl Zimmer  in the NY Times this week raised the prospect that science is on the threshold of creating “synthetic human entities with embryolike features”.  (“Sheefs” in their acronym.)

Hold it right there!  Just what IS a “synthetic human entity with embryolike features”?

“Soon, experts predict, they will learn how to engineer these cells into new kinds of tissues and organs. Eventually, they may take on features of a mature human being.” (Quote from the Times article, my emphasis added.)

“Features of a mature human being”  –– Hmm, and what does that mean?  Does that ( in the not-so far distant future) mean man-made creatures walking around, looking like us, but with “parents” were petri dishes in a lab?

I don’t speak directly of Sheefs or stem cells in my science techno-thriller A REMEDY FOR DEATH, but the problem REMEDY raises is much the same as in the quote–taking on “features of a mature human being”.  (For the record, neither did Michael Crichton in JURASSIC PARK get into this issue of stem cells in bringing about his dinosaurs.)  But something like that had to have been done in both JURASSIC and REMEDY to reach the outcomes.

But REMEDY and JURASSIC PARK  are just science fiction. But the “fiction” is quickly fading as reality pushes up against the “what-if.”  As Paul Knoepfler, a biologist at University of California, Davis, put it, speaking of this and other  related research at the University of Cambridge: “They’ve opened the door to a lot of tough questions.”

Which echoes a warning from the fictional Kate Remington, Ph.D.  in A REMEDY FOR DEATH: “You’re opening very dangerous doorways! Once they’re open, there’s no stopping what may come through from the other side of that doorway!”

A REMEDY FOR DEATH: articles on radical life extension, reversing aging, the quest for human immortality, and regenerative medicine

As  my technothriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH, is set in areas including anti-aging methods, bio-engineering, radical life extension, the quest for human immortality,organ regeneration and organ fabrication, regenerative medicine, reversing aging, the quest for eternal youth, and transhumanism, I keep an eye out for articles on these and related topics.

Here are a few of the more intriguing. Normally, I’d like to comment on them and put them into perspective, but the list has grown too quickly recently.  

 

Tech titans’ latest: Project Defy Death. Washington Post, page 1 above the fold, April 5, 2015;

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/04/04/tech-titans-latest-project-defy-death/#

Continue reading A REMEDY FOR DEATH: articles on radical life extension, reversing aging, the quest for human immortality, and regenerative medicine

A REMEDY FOR DEATH . . . Scientists grow full-sized beating human hearts from stem cells

My bio-science techno-thriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH, focuses on a group of super-rich trying to re-create themselves in “healthy, horny 21-year-old bodies with all our accumulated savvy from this lifetime”.
Seems far out?
Not so, as hardly a week goes by without elements of just-that being announced by science labs around the world.
Articles report in the online London Independent https://www.indy100.com/article/human-heart-grow-stem-cells-science-transplant-medicine-technology-7521166 and  by Alexandra Ossola in Popular Science  http://www.popsci.com/scientists-grow-transplantable-hearts-with-stem-cells   how not only is this a step toward the scheme of the bad-guys in A REMEDY FOR DEATH, but — better for the world– will ultimately produce many more of the replacement hearts needed by those waiting for heart transplants.

The photo here comes from the article in the professional journal Circulation Research, where you can read more  http://circres.ahajournals.org/content/118/1/56

“Should a human-pig chimera be treated as a person?”–question raised in Aeon

pig face“Should a human-pig chimera be treated as a human?”–that’s the title of an article I came upon in Aeonhttps://aeon.co/ideas/should-a-human-pig-chimera-be-treated-as-a-person

(The portrait of Mr. Pig comes from that article.)

It’s a variation of a question that I raise early-on in my technothriller,  A REMEDY FOR DEATH. In REMEDY, a researcher tries to implant brain cells from a human fetus into a young chimp. (Not a plot-spoiler: that is only a small part of the story,)

 

Want to read a FREE 100 page sampler of  A REMEDY FOR DEATH?

http://michaelmcgaulley.net/here-is-your-free-sampler-of-the-technothriller-a-remedy-for-death/

 

In the Aeon article, the focus is on the pigs that may be used to grow replacement human organs:

Continue reading “Should a human-pig chimera be treated as a person?”–question raised in Aeon