New Medical Advacnement that Involves Use of Pig Hearts

Vegan message board for support on vegan related issues and questions.
Topics include philosophy, activism, effective altruism, plant-based nutrition, and diet advice/discussion whether high carb, low carb (eco atkins/vegan keto) or anything in between.
Meat eater vs. Vegan debate welcome, but please keep it within debate topics.
Post Reply
User avatar
Red
Supporter
Supporter
Posts: 2638
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:59 pm
Location: White House

New Medical Advacnement that Involves Use of Pig Hearts

Post by Red » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:48 pm

This was posted in the Reddit Journal of Science the other day:
https://www.reddit.com/r/science/commen ... aboon_and/

Basically, they transplanted a pig heart into a baboon, which allowed it to live for several months, so they postulate that this'll help out thousands of people with heart disease. I asked the members of Seitanism, hoping for an intelligent answer, but was not greeted with such (unsurprisingly).

So, should we, as vegans, be advocating for such an advancement? I'm teetering towards no, mainly for the following reasons:
1. We have to prove that this will help humans as well, since baboons are anatomically different from humans (although very similar).
2. It's probably a better idea to just educate people to be healthier (eat more healthful foods, exercise, etc.), since that wouldn't require the deaths of pigs, and would probably do a lot more in terms of efficacy and long-term effectiveness (it probably would give them an excuse to still live unhealthy lifestyles). The need from heart transplants usually comes from heart or coronary failure.

Thoughts?
If the circumstances make it such that you can't fuck a man in the ass, then just peckerslap him. Better to let him know who's in charge than to let him get the keys to the car.
-Lyndon Baines Johnson

User avatar
Lay Vegan
Full Member
Posts: 244
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:05 pm
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by Lay Vegan » Sat Dec 08, 2018 5:07 pm

I can’t say that I would support this kind of medical advancement, unless there were no viable alternative to select from.

This particular study doesn’t seem to tell us much about how well genetically modified pig hearts could work in human transplant. As you mention, the study has several limitations, and human anatomy is different from baboon anatomy. Much more research would be be required (which means much more animal suffering and death). And there are serious public health concerns to consider.
Food and Drug Administration wrote:Although the potential benefits are considerable, the use of xenotransplantation raises concerns regarding the potential infection of recipients with both recognized and unrecognized infectious agents and the possible subsequent transmission to their close contacts and into the general human population.

https://www.fda.gov/biologicsbloodvacci ... efault.htm

I know that mechanical heart valves can be implanted in humans, but subjects nearly always require taking a blood thinning medication throughout the remainder of their lives. Relying on human heart valve donations could work, but supply is notoriously low. It seems that pig heart valves can be a viable option, since they’re anatomically similar enough to human hearts to function adequately.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of research in medical science relies heavily on animal models to test for safety/viability of medicines and surgical procedures. Are animal models really the most effective method? I don’t know. Are there more viable options to invest in than translating pig hearts in heart disease patients? Maybe?

Researchers should carefully weigh the pros and cons of using pig hearts in human transplants, then evaluate that against other options. As a vegan, I recognize the sentience of animals. I acknowledge their desire to live and capacity to suffer. So of course I would lean toward the option that doesn’t require the use of pig hearts.

User avatar
Red
Supporter
Supporter
Posts: 2638
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:59 pm
Location: White House

Post by Red » Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:01 pm

https://www.reddit.com/r/science/commen ... aboon_and/
Link wasn't working.

I agree Lay, not only do the anatomical differences play a part, but it may have to be supplemented with human parts (for all we know, these people used Baboon valves). I also agree we should be studying other methods before we jump the gun on this.

I really just want to be sure of the good done vs the bad done. But I'm not sure how we can properly calculate such a thing.
If the circumstances make it such that you can't fuck a man in the ass, then just peckerslap him. Better to let him know who's in charge than to let him get the keys to the car.
-Lyndon Baines Johnson

User avatar
Lay Vegan
Full Member
Posts: 244
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:05 pm
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by Lay Vegan » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:14 pm

Red wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:01 pm
I really just want to be sure of the good done vs the bad done. But I'm not sure how we can properly calculate such a thing.
To assess the cost benefit analysis of this kind of research, perhaps it would be useful to conduct a systematic review of the strongest case studies, then synthesize the data, asses the outcomes, and generalize the evidence on its usefulness.

Typically the goal of animal testing in medical research is to contribute to the development of human clinical interventions. That is, to be certain that certain medicines/medical procedures will be safe for humans. If the data suggests that these case studies are effective, then it would justify the cost it takes to perform such experiments (the animal suffering & death, resources, money, and time invested).

It might also be useful to evaluate the cost-benefit ratio against the analyses of other forms of research (computer modeling, stem cell, in-vitro modeling).

Interestingly, 89% of scientists are in favor of using animals in scientific research, which is a pretty substantial majority.
http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/29/p ... d-society/
Pew Research Center Survey wrote:Citizens are closely divided over animal research: 47% favor and 50% oppose the use of animals in scientific research. By contrast, an overwhelming majority of scientists (89%) favor animal research. The difference in the share favoring such research is 42 percentage points.

My gut instinct is to defer to the experts. I will stand by original statement though: I don't support the use of animals in research if more effective alternatives can be utilized.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests