the friend online
18 April 2008

Letters

Letters - preview
What is pro-life?
Thank you, Stephen Cox and Sarah Dodgson (21 March)
  • Some Friends and allies might find what follows somewhat difficult, but animal-human 'hybrids' of various sorts have been around for many decades, often playing essential roles in research for alleviating human suffering
  • For instance, since the early 1990s mice with human bone marrow cells have been bred in order to develop effective treatments for many conditions, including HIV and AIDS
  • Another condition is 'multiple myeloma', a painful bone cancer with about 4,000 new cases in the UK each year and which is very difficult to treat
  • Knowledge about myeloma has been greatly helped by these 'SCID-hu' mice
  • Even though the cells in these animals are either wholly human or wholly murine (unlike the stem cells Stephen and Sarah describe), the animal is an unnaturally manipulated 'chimera' of different mammalian species: many would regard the morality of their 'creation' as just as challenging as genetic stem-cell hybrids
  • Whatever regret we may have about the intrinsic undesirability of exploiting such animal 'models' the fact remains that many real medical advances have been and will be made by experiments which need living animal tissues

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