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How Pig Models Are Being Used in Huntington’s Disease Research

swine as models in biomedical researchIn the latest example of the benefits of using swine as models in biomedical research, scientists have engineered the world’s first pigs with Huntington’s disease, which could lead to a cure for this debilitating illness.

Huntington’s is a neurodegenerative disease that leaves its victims incapacitated in its later stages, and in need of personal care.

Symptoms usually present between the ages of 30 and 50 and include trouble concentrating, difficulty swallowing, clumsiness and involuntary jerking. People with the illness rarely survive more than 20 years after their symptoms first manifest.

But there may be hope for people with Huntington’s disease, thanks to a joint effort by researchers at Emory University in Atlanta and Jinan University in China, working with the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technique used in swine.

In the past, studies like this one would have used rodents as their main animal model, but these research teams concluded that pigs made a better fit due to their close biological similarity to humans.

“We think the pig model will fill an important gap,” Li Shihua, professor of human genetics at Emory University and one of the study’s co-senior authors, told the Telegraph. “In pigs, the pattern of neurodegeneration is almost the same as in humans, and there have been several treatments tested in mouse models that didn’t translate to humans.”

This study is yet another instance of how using swine as models in biomedical research can lead to breakthroughs that help human patients.

In the past we’ve written about how using swine as models in biomedical research showed new insights into spinal diseases and promising methods for treating diabetes.

Animal Biotech is proud to have played a role in these types of projects. In addition to providing live porcine models and porcine cadavers, we can give your team insights into a host of issues on the testing and housing of live animals.

In addition, we can customize different varieties of post-mortem tissues and tissue blocks or suggest the type of tissue that would work best for your project.

Contact us today to see how Animal Biotech can assist you and your team.

How Porcine Cells Contribute to Restorative Therapies

porcine cells

Research swine are contributing to research studies that focus on restorative therapies to replace lost or diseased human tissues.

While the amount of suitable human cells for transplantation is lacking, porcine cells offer researchers a suitable, and much more available, alternative.

In 2014, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that cells derived from porcine organs – in this case, bladders – could work with human stem cells help build muscles in the legs of five men who had suffered severe injuries, including two soldiers injured by IEDs.

All five had suffered from nearly 60 percent to 90 percent of leg muscle loss, and had undergone surgery and physical therapy, with no success.

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How Porcine Islet Cells Could Help Treat Diabetes

porcine islet cells

Research swine are playing a substantial role in uncovering new methods of treating diabetes.

Porcine islet cells are an integral part of the microislet cell encapsulation method because there is an unlimited source of porcine pancreas cells as compared to human donor pancreatic islets.

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Xenotransplantation: How Pig Organs Could Be Transplanted into Humans

Pig organs research

The concept of xenotransplantation between humans and pigs is not new, but it’s one that’s faced some hurdles on the road to becoming a viable organ transplant method.

The key concern was that the human recipient could contract serious – if not fatal – zoonotic diseases from pig organs via porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVS).

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Pig Lumbar Spines Used for Pedicle Screw Testing

Pedicle ScrewsPedicle screws have been the standard method of treatment of spinal diseases.

However, these screws can loosen over time after placement during surgery, which makes them a less-than-ideal choice.

But how can surgeons improve on this practice? The answer may lie within research swine. More specifically, within pig lumbar spines.

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Studying Skin Permeation with Porcine Tissue Models

Porcine SkinSkin permeation studies are extremely important in predicting percutaneous penetration, and porcine tissue models have proven very important in such research.

A recent study conducted at the University College of London compared skin parallel artificial membrane permeation assay (PAMPA), porcine skin and human skin in the permeation of compounds topically placed on each tissue/artificial tissue.

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Determining the Presence of Brown Adipose Tissue in Porcine Models

adipose cell on microscopeIf there’s one thread that runs through all our blog posts, it’s the physiological similarity between pigs and humans, a fact that makes the porcine model extremely useful in biomedical research.

For example, there’s the study conducted by researchers at South China Agricultural University and the University of Hawaii at Manoa that looked for the presence of brown adipose tissue (BAT) in pigs.

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Porcine Model Used for Wireless Capsule Endoscopy Research

Endoscopy Capsule Research using Porcine TissueWireless capsule endoscopy has been very helpful in making advances in the world of endoscopy, but this work has always been limited to superficial tissue.

However, a there is a new method of pairing ultrasonography with the wireless capsule, allowing doctors to view deeper levels of tissue and therefore have a clearer view of all the tissues involved in the endoscopic procedure.

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Porcine Model Used for Acute Lung Injury Research

porcine model for lung researchThe porcine model has proved to be helpful in establishing the therapeutic effects of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) in reducing the inflammatory response during acute lung injuries.

In a study conducted at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, researchers determined that pigs induced with severe traumatic lung injuries had decreased PVR/SVR levels two hours after treatment with MSCs.

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