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A framework for the ethical assessment of chimeric animal research involving human neural tissue

Porsdam Mann, Sebastian ; Sun, Rosa and Hermerén, Göran LU (2019) In BMC Medical Ethics 20(1).
Abstract

Background: Animal models of human diseases are often used in biomedical research in place of human subjects. However, results obtained by animal models may fail to hold true for humans. One way of addressing this problem is to make animal models more similar to humans by placing human tissue into animal models, rendering them chimeric. Since technical and ethical limitations make neurological disorders difficult to study in humans, chimeric models with human neural tissue could help advance our understanding of neuropathophysiology. Main body: In this article, we examine whether the introduction of human neural tissue and any consequent cognitive change is relevant to the way we ought to treat chimeras. We argue that changes in... (More)

Background: Animal models of human diseases are often used in biomedical research in place of human subjects. However, results obtained by animal models may fail to hold true for humans. One way of addressing this problem is to make animal models more similar to humans by placing human tissue into animal models, rendering them chimeric. Since technical and ethical limitations make neurological disorders difficult to study in humans, chimeric models with human neural tissue could help advance our understanding of neuropathophysiology. Main body: In this article, we examine whether the introduction of human neural tissue and any consequent cognitive change is relevant to the way we ought to treat chimeras. We argue that changes in cognitive abilities are morally relevant to the extent that they increase the capacities that affect the moral status of any entity, including awareness, autonomy, and sociability. We posit that no being, regardless of species, should be treated in a way that is incommensurate with its moral status. Finally, we propose a framework that can be used to guide ethical assessment of research involving chimeras with advanced cognitive capacities. Conclusion: We advance this framework as a useful tool for bringing relevant considerations to the forefront for those considering the ethical merit of proposed chimeric research. In doing so, we examine concepts relevant to the question of how any entity may be treated, including moral status, dignity, and capacities.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Animal research ethics, Chimeric research, Cognitive capacities, Dignity, Ethical assessment., Human neural chimeras, Moral status
in
BMC Medical Ethics
volume
20
issue
1
article number
10
publisher
BioMed Central (BMC)
external identifiers
  • pmid:30683100
  • scopus:85060520741
ISSN
1472-6939
DOI
10.1186/s12910-019-0345-2
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d1c73f6a-9c13-468b-b2d2-41af07c7a0f8
date added to LUP
2019-02-05 11:09:32
date last changed
2020-07-08 04:41:07
@article{d1c73f6a-9c13-468b-b2d2-41af07c7a0f8,
  abstract     = {<p>Background: Animal models of human diseases are often used in biomedical research in place of human subjects. However, results obtained by animal models may fail to hold true for humans. One way of addressing this problem is to make animal models more similar to humans by placing human tissue into animal models, rendering them chimeric. Since technical and ethical limitations make neurological disorders difficult to study in humans, chimeric models with human neural tissue could help advance our understanding of neuropathophysiology. Main body: In this article, we examine whether the introduction of human neural tissue and any consequent cognitive change is relevant to the way we ought to treat chimeras. We argue that changes in cognitive abilities are morally relevant to the extent that they increase the capacities that affect the moral status of any entity, including awareness, autonomy, and sociability. We posit that no being, regardless of species, should be treated in a way that is incommensurate with its moral status. Finally, we propose a framework that can be used to guide ethical assessment of research involving chimeras with advanced cognitive capacities. Conclusion: We advance this framework as a useful tool for bringing relevant considerations to the forefront for those considering the ethical merit of proposed chimeric research. In doing so, we examine concepts relevant to the question of how any entity may be treated, including moral status, dignity, and capacities.</p>},
  author       = {Porsdam Mann, Sebastian and Sun, Rosa and Hermerén, Göran},
  issn         = {1472-6939},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {01},
  number       = {1},
  publisher    = {BioMed Central (BMC)},
  series       = {BMC Medical Ethics},
  title        = {A framework for the ethical assessment of chimeric animal research involving human neural tissue},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12910-019-0345-2},
  doi          = {10.1186/s12910-019-0345-2},
  volume       = {20},
  year         = {2019},
}