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November 09, 2019 - The Vegan Authority

Speciesist Pig-to-Human Organ Transplants Nearing Reality

Speciesist Pig-to-Human Organ Transplants Nearing Reality
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"Engineering life" is the slogan of a company that wants to create a new life form and then exploit it on a huge scale.

eGenesis, a recent biotech startup, has raised $138 million for pig-to-human organ transplants. They are self described as "a biotechnology company utilizing breakthrough gene editing technologies for the development of safe and effective human-compatible organs to address the global organ shortage".

Biomatics Capital and ARCH Venture Partners initially seeded the company with $38 million in 2017. The latest $100m tranche, announced November 7th, includes a $50 million investment from Bayer. Bayer, if you will remember, merged with Monsanto in 2018 purging the toxic name but not the legacy of: Agent Orange, PCBs, Roundup weedkiller, DDT, Bovine somatotropin growth hormone, and a plethora of market-dominating GMO seed products. The additional financiers were: Fresenius Medical Care Ventures, Wellington Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, Biomatics Capital, Alta Partners, and Khosla Ventures.

eGenesis states "This financing will enable the acceleration of the eGenesis kidney xenotransplant program into the clinic, as well as support advancement of a range of other xenotransplant programs across islet cell, liver, heart, and lung." Indicating kidney "harvesting" is their first objective, with pancreas (that's where islet cells are found) and other major organs to follow.

Xenotransplant: Total Organ Transplant, from Pig to Human

Pigs have a very similar biology to humans, this and the fact they are already exploited and lacking legal protection, is the reason bio-engineering firms favor the animal. Primates such as gorillas would presumably be a better biological match but they are unsuitable to breed "ethically" in large numbers due to their sameness to humans. Chimpanzees for example are considered the best "donor" candidate since their organs are of similar size, and they have good blood type compatibility with humans.

It should be noted that pig parts, such as heart valves, have been routinely used to surgically repair the hearts of humans for several decades now. This alone is ethically errant, but what eGenesis and alike are perusing is total organ removal from a non-human and subsequent transplant into a human.

According to eGenesis "The demand for lifesaving organs far outnumbers available supply. In the U.S. today, 20 people die every day due to lack of available organs for transplant and every 10 minutes an additional name is added to the national transplant waitlist. There are more than 113,000 people in need of a lifesaving organ transplant in the U.S. alone."

"With a few years"

eGenesis has accumulated $138 million for tests and R&D. Why do they need to do tests? Can't the organs be yanked from the pig and stuffed into humans? No they can't. Although similar to humans, pig biology is sufficiently different that genetic modification is needed to prevent the organs from being rejected. Essentially eGenesis needs to genetically build a modified pig, a chimera - half pig half human, more or less, to achieve this goal.

With two years of research under their belt, one has to wonder what is going on behind the scenes. What kind of animals are involved? How many animals are dying and suffering to fulfill this research? eGenesis has not released specific information in this regard, yet we know from a report in ScienceNews that 14 baboons have received pig hearts, presumably unnecessarily, and clearly at least 14 pigs died to facilitate this. Reportedly all of the baboons died as well, with the possible exception of one.

Noted UK surgeon Sir Terence English, told The Guardian in August of this year "If the result of xenotransplantation is satisfactory with porcine [pig] kidneys to humans, then it is likely that hearts would be used with good effects in humans within a few years,” the 87-year-old said. "If it works with a kidney, it will work with a heart. That will transform the issue."

If eGenesis can successfully mutate pig genes to create human-ready body parts, then we are entering a whole new era of animal exploitation. Will people tolerate the mistreatment of an animal deemed smarter than dogs and comparable to a three-year-old child? Sadly the answer is yes. Currently there are 767 million pigs on this planet raised for food and waiting to be slaughtered. Nobody, except a sliver of society --vegans-- care about them. It's a fact. Faced with this indifference, what's another 113,000 souls per year? Or even another million? And heaven forbid we interfere with whatever corporate greed is underlying all of this. Heaven forbid.

Unfortunately there is little money to be made promoting a good diet and healthy lifestyle, which would negate the need for many of these transplants. Eating a plant-based diet, limiting sugar and alcohol, stopping smoking, exercising and losing weight is the real solution. Too bad for pigs and animals everywhere that humans are making them pay for their poor lifestyle choices.

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