Research swine are playing an important role in the global fight against COVID-19, with live animal models helping to both create a vaccine and address the worldwide ventilator shortage.
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.
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.
In 2017, scientists at the Salk Institute made an announcement that almost sounded like science fiction: they had created the first successful animal-human hybrids.
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.
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.
Skin 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.
The process of using detergents to decellularize and then recellularize porcine hearts with differentiated cells made from human patient specific pluripotent stem cells is an innovative area of research that may significantly change the prognosis for heart failure patients.
With that in mind, researchers are seeking innovative ways to enhance wound management. One such method is the porcine urinary bladder matrix.
Two recent studies have shown the effectiveness of porcine tissues in treating wounds in both humans and other animals.
As we discussed last month, abalation is a method used in treating liver tumors. Our previous blog post looked at thermal abalation and porcine liver tissues.
This week, we’ll look at microwave abalation (MWA) in liver tumor treatments and a study by Italian researchers published in 2015 in the Journal of Cancer Surgery.