The wonderful adult stem cell advance that has liberated some organ transplant patients from anti-rejection drugs—which I posted about here—is yet another illustration of the ongoing need to use animals in medical research. From the story:
[Dr. David] Sachs first tried this approach successfully on mice, pigs, then monkeys. In 1998, he won approval to try his treatment on a select group of Mass. General patients with severe kidney failure, all of whom were offered matching kidneys from close relatives. When these six patients did well, Sachs moved on to the most ambitious test of his method, trying it out on patients with mismatched donors. Consider what this means: mice, pigs, and monkeys had healthy organs removed and received organs from other animals euthanized for the purpose. As unpleasant as this is to contemplate, these preparations for human trials were absolutely necessary to test the concept and perfect techniques before attempting it on humans. The only other options would either be to use profoundly disabled people or not develop the treatment at all.
Animal rights advocates like Gary Francione would say, “Then don’t develop the technique,” based on an ethical belief that humans don’t have the right to treat other sentient beings in such an instrumental manner. I disagree, but at least that is an honest argument. However, dishonest animal rights activists continue to claim that animal research offers no human benefit. This experimental success demonstrates that assertion to be unadulterated bull manure.
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