Doctors decide to transplant internal organs in extreme cases, when the treatment has not been successful and the patient is doomed to die soon. However, the number of donor people is about 5% of the required, not to mention the problem of organ compatibility, as well as the cost of drugs and organ transplant operations reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars. In this case, animals come to the aid of doctors.
Many animals are close to humans in their anatomical structure, and the most similar is undoubtedly a monkey. But why, then, is a pig serving as a donor for human organ transplantation? It turns out there are many barriers to using primates for organ donation:
- a limited number of animals of this species (in particular chimpanzees, which are close to human size and are on the verge of extinction)
- difficulties in captive breeding (they breed poorly and grow for a long time)
- ethical concerns about killing monkeys (animal advocates equate killing monkeys with killing humans)
- inability to protect the patient from infectious diseases of the donor (diseases of monkeys are poorly understood and transmitted to humans)
Strange as it may seem, it turned out to be a pig as an animal possessing the qualities that the monkeys lacked. The advantages of the pig in comparison with primates are its widespread prevalence, problem-free growing and maintenance, the similarity of pig organs with human organs in size and physiology. In addition, the removal of pork donor organs does not raise objections from conservationists, since pigs are still raised for meat.
The skin of a pig is very similar to that of a human, and the pig can even sunbathe. Features of teeth, eyes, liver, kidneys are similar. Pork heart weighs 320 g, human - 300 g, lung weight in pigs - 800 g, in humans - 790 g, kidney weight, respectively 260 and 280 g, liver - 1600 and 1800. Even the diseases of newborn piglets are about the same as in breastfeeding children. According to the Institute of Molecular Biology, the structure of the pig and human growth hormone molecule coincides by 70%.
The body temperature of pigs is identical to that of a human. Until devices that purify blood appeared, in case of liver failure, a pork liver was connected to a person. Various medical experiments and drug trials are also carried out on this animal.
Recently, they began to use the method of transplanting pig organs to humans. The genes of a person who needs a transplant are introduced into the pig embryo. This helps to avoid tissue rejection. In this way, a donor is grown for a person.
Several years ago, doctors decided to replace one of the heart valves for actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. His heart problems began due to the use of huge doses of various drugs during bodybuilding. The valve transplant was successful. Arnold Schwarzenegger's donor was a pig. Since the operation, the actor has eliminated pork from his diet and has introduced several mini pigs as pets.