First things first...
A bit of a tech expert... And I get asked to talk about that on the BBC and on radio.
So finding out about the latest research and findings in America all about cloning sheep hybrids to enable transplants for people with diabetes - really interested me. It's tech and health and all sorts of clever stuff all together....
And it was a BIG story with lots of people talking about it.
The DONOR KEBAB headline – might have been trivializing things. But it made me laugh and to be honest I do love a good donner kebab so it was like it was made for me.
However, the actual subject of making new life forms that we can harvest for our organs did worry me a little bit. So is this going to far? I was undecided so I asked people through Twitter to vote. The results were pretty undecided too.
With only 43% saying it’s going too far.
In fact, only 54% of people weren’t behind the idea with 24% saying we find a cure at ANY cost. So perhaps the scientists have it right and they are on to something.
So how does it work?
A team at Stanford University successfully grew embryos inside a surrogate. For three weeks which had both sheep and human cells. It is the first stage towards growing an unlimited supply of human organs for transplants.
And even providing a cure for Type 1 diabetes.
The next step is to implant human stem cells into sheep embryos which have been genetically modified. So they cannot grow a pancreas, in the hope that human DNA will fill in the missing code.
So the work isn’t quite done yet. In fact, the work could be a decade away. As Dr Hiro Nakuachi, who is leading the research, believes that organs grown in animals. Will be available for transplant within the next five to ten years.
But why should we grow organs?
Because, Britain is currently facing a transplant shortage crisis because medicine has advanced to such a degree. That many more lives are being saved, so there are fewer donor organs available.
Also for people with Type1Diabetes this could be a cure for the disease. However, people on #Twitter rushed to remind me that this could be wrong.
Which has made me realise TWO things.
That I know nothing about Type1Diabetes. Compared to other people. Especially those that suffer from it.
I hope that clears that up.
And for the record - personally I think it's fine to clone sheep and change them to help saves lives.