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Xenotransplantation: Research Pigs Lead to Milestone in Skin Transplants

pig being held by person - xenotransplantation

Researchers in China have genetically engineered a pig with human DNA and transplanted skin grafts onto monkeys, a breakthrough they say will open the door to new skin/organ transplants. This type of surgery is called xenotransplantation, the process of transplanting or grafting tissue or organs from one species to another.

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How Pig Models Help Us Understand the Human Brain

brain artistic depiction

Medical researchers have long recognized the efficacy of using live pig models to understand illnesses in humans better.

But a new study out of the University of Georgia suggests that pig brains are even more effective for neurological research than once thought.

Using an imaging method typically reserved for humans, the research team at the university’s Regenerative Bioscience Center found that pig brains can offer new insights into neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

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Four Ways Porcine Models May Improve Human Health

group of pigs outside, raised to be porcine models

Regular readers of our blog have probably picked up on a pattern: story after story about how porcine models have helped lead to breakthroughs that can improve human health.

From Parkinson’s disease to diabetes to pediatric nutrition, there are numerous examples of this phenomenon. Here are a few that we’ve noted recently.

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Pig Organs Offer New Hopes for Heart Transplants

patient and medical professional making heart shape with hands (heart transplants)

For people with end-stage heart failure, getting heart transplants can be the difference between life and death when all other treatments have failed.

Yet finding a suitable donor can often be difficult, which is why the medical community has turned to xenotransplantation – organ transplants from one species to another – for a solution.

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Scientists Regenerate Leg Muscles Using Pig Bladder Tissue

scientists in lab researching pig bladder transplants

They were men who had suffered unimaginable injuries.

Two of them were ex-soldiers, wounded by explosives. They had lost anywhere from 60 to 90 percent of the muscles in their legs.

Things seemed hopeless even after surgery and physical therapy. Then came an experimental study, involving pig bladders from research swine.

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How Pig Models Help Us Understand Pediatric Nutrition

doctor with juvenile patient, discussing pediatric nutrition

Pig models have been instrumental in advances in pediatric nutrition. It’s yet another example of how the biological similarities between research swine and people have helped in human medical research.

A 2017 report by the neuroscience program at the University of Illinois’ Department of Animal Science looked at the scope of this research.

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How Pig Cells Could be Used to Slow Parkinson’s Disease

close-up of hands of man with Parkinson’s Disease

Can pig islet cells offer a way to combat Parkinson’s disease?

That’s what researchers at Living Cell Technologies in New Zealand hope to learn with the help of research swine.

Over the past few years, this firm has been implanting cells from the choroid plexus of a pig into the brains of Parkinson’s patients to attempt to stop the illness’ progression.

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