Chimeras on the rise

Staff | December 11, 2018 |

Transplanting Pig Hearts Into Humans

Suturing a swine heart.jpg
By Camerist - Own work, Swine heart CC BY-SA 4.0
The scientific journal Nature recently published an article from Munich University Hospital which describes the long-term survival of baboons that had received a heart transplant from genetically modified pigs.1 This is an important step forward on the way to being able to give humans porcine heart transplants.

Pig hearts are very similar in size, anatomy and function to human hearts, so are used to train medical students. Porcine hearts are the gold-standard in pre-clinical animal testing for all cardiovascular devices prior to use in humans to both test the safety and efficacy, and refine the implant procedures. Read more...


Heather Hansman | September 17, 2015 |

Animal to human organ transplants

Could a genetically engineered pig heart one day function in a person?

On a farm in Virginia, a company called Revivicor is breeding pigs that have some genetic similarities to humans. The scientists call them GalSafe pigs, and they have added five human genes to the pigs' livers, kidneys and hearts. The hope is that the organs can be harvested and used for transplants, and that human bodies won’t reject them.

It sounds like science fiction, but it’s sort of working. Revivicor (started by the British company PPL Therapeutics that produced Dolly the cloned sheep) is making strides in the slowly growing field of xenotransplantation, or the transplanting of non-human organs or cells into a human body. The first step has been to make transplants from one animal species to another a reality. Read more.


Michael Cook | August 3, 2019 |

Creating chimeras for organs

A Japanese stem cell scientist has obtained permission to create human-animal chimeras and transplant them into surrogate animals. Hiromitsu Nakauchi, a researcher at the University of Tokyo and at Stanford University, plans to insert induced pluripotent human cells into mouse embryos. His ultimate aim is to grow human organs in animals.

This kind of procedure was banned in Japan until March, when the government issued new guidelines permitting scientists to create human-animal embryos which can be brought to term. The creation of chimeras in the laboratory is permitted in other countries, like the United States, but the human-animal hybrids cannot be brought to term. Read more.

Chinese whistleblowers and their opposites

Dave Bohon | October 1, 2019 |

China harvests organs of religious and political prisoners

Pig heart bypass.jpg
By akeg/Eric Schmuttenmaer, Wheaton, USA
Communist China appears to be continuing its decades-long dark practice of “harvesting” organs from individuals it imprisons for various “crimes.”

The latest charge comes from a group calling itself the China Tribunal, a “coalition of lawyers, academics, ethicists, medical professionals, researchers, and human rights advocates dedicated to ending forced organ harvesting in China,” according to the group’s website.

Appearing before the UN’s so-called Human Rights Council in late September, the group said it has discovered evidence that China continues the gruesome practice of taking organs from political and religious prisoners, despite Beijing’s insistence that it had halted the atrocities several years ago. Read more...


Michael Cook | August 3, 2019 |

Creating human-monkey chimeras in China

LATE FLASH! In a stunning example of evading ethical controversy by exporting it, Spanish and American researchers have created monkey-human chimeras in China. The hybrid embryos will be destroyed after they develop a central nervous system and will not be brought to term.

The experiment is ethically risky. What if the human stem cells develop in the monkey brain and become conscious? What if they become sperm or egg cells? Although the researchers, from The Salk Institute, in California, and Murcia Catholic University (UCAM), brush off these fears, they are legitimate and widely-shared.

“We are doing the experiments with monkeys in China because, in principle, they cannot be done here,” Estrella Núñez, of UCAM, told El Pais. “What we want is to make progress for the sake of people who have a disease”. She says that if “if human cells migrate to the brain, they will self-destruct.” Read more.

Angel fish
Public Domain, Link

...and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind ... the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind ...the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. -Genesis 1


A SistersSite eBook

Flesh and Bone and The Protestant Conscience is an e-book on It is 99¢ and in the Amazon lending library as well. It is also available here in PDF format. The book description follows.

Would you let your conscience be your guide?

Does God care if the skin and bone of the dead are passed along to the living for medical uses? Is organ donation OK with God? Should you sign a Living Will?

Did you know that dead organ donors are often anesthetized before their organs are removed? Do you know the current definition of death? The conscience cannot function without facts.

As we ponder the ethics of in vitro fertilization, stem cell research and man-made chimeras, our thoughts trail off. How then should we live? (Ez 33:10)

How should a Christian think about euthanasia by starvation when doctors and the state attorney general all agree it is time to withhold feeding from a brain injured patient? Some things are family matters, but someday it may be our family.

Here is a small book to help you think about whether you want to sign your driver's license, donate a kidney, cremate your loved one, and many other practical questions that may arise in the course of your healthcare decisions or watch over others.

It offers a special focus on the doctrine of the Resurrection that is related to such decisions. Sunday School classes and Bible Study groups could use this book to facilitate discussion about the issues covered.