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Category Archives: Research Swine

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 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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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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Regenerative Medicine Research With Porcine Skin Tissue

porcine skin tissue research modelToday we’ll discuss yet another example of the similarities between human and porcine skin tissue in terms of wound healing.

Pressure ulcer prevention is important for healing, and the porcine model is an integral part of research into this subject.

Among that research is a study published in October in the journal Wound Repair and Regeneration. As the authors of the study note, 2.5 million patients develop pressure ulcers each year in America, with treatment costs exceeding $11 billion.

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Pigs Useful in Obesity and Immune Research

HHumans and pigs are biologically similar enough for research that the latter help make medical breakthroughs to help the former.

But a new project at Maryland’s Agricultural Research Services is looking at pigs in a way aimed at promoting both human and animal health.

The work is being done by nutritionist Harry Dawson and microbiologist Gloria Solano-Aguilar, who are studying the effect of nutrition on immune and inflammatory responses at the ARS’s Beltzville Human Nutrition Research Center.

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How Porcine Tissue May Help Liver Transplant Patients

Two pigletsHernias occur after about 30 percent of orthotropic liver transplants, or OLT.

As discussed earlier this year in the Germany Journal of Gastroenterology, a group of Austrian researchers looked at this problem and found that use of porcine non-cross-biological patches seemed feasible for hernia repair after OLT.

The study notes that “wound infections in these patients have been observed with other meshes. Further investigation is needed to prove potential superiority of this biological to the other meshes.”

Continue Reading How Porcine Tissue May Help Liver Transplant Patients

Porcine Tissue Teaches Researchers About Human Hearts

porcine tissueIt is important to determine the mechanical behavior of vessels and other soft tissues in order to know how they properly handle loads in all directions (circumferential and longitudinal).

Post-mortem porcine tissue is an excellent model to use in order to test and determine these values.  Researchers are gaining valuable information every day from using porcine tissues which will aid them in being able to repair soft tissues that rupture within humans or animals alike, because they understand how the tissues function under pressure.

A recent study at Aix-Marseille Universite in France – published earlier this month in the Journal of Biomechanics – looked at the mechanical behavior of the porcine ascending aorta as it relates to human ascending aorta pathologies.

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Why Porcine Tissues Are Key For Researchers

porcine tissues used for researchPigs are increasingly being used as an alternative to animals like dogs and monkeys when it comes to surgical procedures and preclinical toxicology testing of pharmaceuticals.

That’s according to research published in the journal Veterinary Pathology.

“There are unique advantages to the use of swine in this setting given that they share with humans similar anatomic and physiologic characteristics involving the cardiovascular, urinary, integumentary, and digestive systems,” the authors write in the article “Swine as Models in Biomedical Research and Toxicology Testing.”

They continue:

“Ethical considerations, as well as the existence of significant amounts of background data, from a regulatory perspective, provide further support for the use of this species in experimental or pharmaceutical research studies. It is likely that pigs and minipigs will become an increasingly important animal model for research and pharmaceutical development applications.”

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Bone Regeneration Study Uses Porcine Tissue

porcine tissue researchOsteoporotic patients, incapacitated due to vertebral compression fractures (VCF), suffer grave financial and clinical burdens because current clinical treatments focus on symptoms’ management but do not combat the issue at the source.

In this pilot study, allogeneic porcine mesenchymal stem cells, (over expressing the BMP6 gene) were suspended in fibrin gel and implanted into a vertebral defect to investigate their effect on bone regeneration in a clinically relevant, large animal pig model. Bone healing was evaluated in vivo at 6 and 12 weeks and ex vivo at 6 months.

Both exams showed significant bone regeneration within 6 weeks of implantation in the BMP gene group while only minor bone formation was seen in the defect site of the control group. This preclinical study presents an innovative, potentially minimally invasive technique that can be used to induce bone regeneration using allogeneic gene modified MSCs and therefore revolutionize current treatment for challenging conditions such as osteoporosis-related VCFs.

From BMP6-Engineered MSCs Induced Vertebral Bone Repair in Pig Model: A Pilot Study by Gadi Pelled, Dmitriy Sheyn, Wafa Tawackoli, Deuk Soo Jun, Youngdo Koh, Susan Su, Doron Cohn Yakubovich, Ilan Kallai, Ben Antebi, Xiaoyu Da, Zulma Gazit, Hyun Bae and Dan Gazit

Past studies have shown porcine tissue effective in repairing rotator cuffs in human patients, and to regrow muscle tissue.

Animal Biotech is proud to provide support for this sort of scientific work. For over 25 years, we have helped the biomedical research community by supplying it with live high quality research porcine models as well as high quality post mortem tissues, organs, and glands. We also supply information, consultation and training on most aspects of husbandry, testing, housing and uses of live animals. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you in your work.