Pig liver keeps woman alive

In another milestone giving
a peek at wonders to come, a 33-year-old woman was kept alive for 8 days
on an artificial liver that uses pig-liver cells to purify blood. The
woman was waiting for a liver transplant which she finally received.

“It was amazing we kept
this woman going for so many days – she was very, very sick,” Elizabeth
Fagan, professor of internal medicine at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s
Medical Center in Chicago, told Wired.

According to Fagan, the woman
would have died without the device, which resembles a dialysis machine
but uses living cells. Contradicting animal rights propaganda about animals
and humans, Fagan noted that “pig livers are very similar in size
to a human’s, and the way the pig liver metabolizes hormones and chemicals
and toxins is similar.”

The success of the artificial
liver moves medical science one step forward to the day when permanent,
genetically engineered organs might replace or augment current human organ
transplantation. As such successes mount, expect animal rights activists,
extreme environmentalists, and others to step up their campaign to have
such procedures banned (on the other hand, the success of such technologies
will likely put another nail into the coffin of whatever slim possibility
the animal rights agenda has of succeeding merely through persuasion rather
than direct action and violence).


Part machine, part pig liver. Kristen Philipkoski, Wired News, January 28, 1999.

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