Xenotranstplantation : The concerns of the past and the promises of the future
Martensson von Gaso, Charlotte
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Xenotranplantation dates back to as early as the 16th century. It was used as an alternative technique in situations where the organs needed for the transplant were not available. Many times offering life saving opportunities. As research evolved in medical science so did the success of xenotransplantation. The time line for the viability of the organs increased with the advancements in fields of medicine, e.g. vascular anastomosis, immunosuppressive drugs, genetic modification of the source animals, and biological modification of the xenotransplant. Other factors that have hindered the common usage of xenotransplantation in medicine include transmission of zoonotic viruses, ethical concerns, and economical costs. Research concerning these factors will be discussed. In parallel to continuing advancement in xenotransplantation, another field of research in human medicine has also been emerging. Nuclear reprogramming and tissue engineering are two of the foremost contenders when it concerns the future use of xenotransplantation. With these techniques cells from the same human body can be used to grow new healthy organs to replace the defected organs.