Xenotransplantation, transplanting animal’s organs into humans, has been studied in research for a long time and is the wave of the future. Human-to-human organ donation is always in high demand and is very often difficult to procure in a timely fashion to save lives. Being able to implement animal-to-human transplantation on a routine basis would make saving human lives much easier. This article speaks of research in porcine skin transplants. Skin is the largest organ of the body and is critical in the immune system. Currently skin grafts come from human cadavers and patients that elect to have excess skin removed. Patients that have been badly burned are always in need of skin grafts. Porcine skin is incredibly similar to human skin with the exception of the fact that porcine skin produces a sugar that humans do not. Through genetic modification, this sugar production in the porcine skin has been deleted so it is more conducive to human transplantation.
This is yet another example of how porcine tissue models help biomedical research. In addition to the live animal models and porcine tissue we provide, we also offer clients expertise in the proper testing, care and housing of live animals.
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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.
Continue Reading Research Pigs Lead to Milestone in Skin Transplants
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).
Continue Reading Xenotransplantation: How Pig Organs Could Be Transplanted into Humans
Pigs are a natural source for xenotransplantation due to the fact that they are so anatomically similar to humans. The key is to genetically modify the animals by knocking out the genes that are responsible for initiating the human immune system.
Research studies that have been carried out over the last year at The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) have shown that genetically altered porcine hearts that are transplanted into baboon’s abdomens are withstanding rejection along with a little help from host targeted immunosuppression. It is the hope of the scientists that all major organs will be able to be xenotransplanted including insulin producing cells which would treat diabetic patients.
This procedure will hopefully mean fewer potentially toxic drugs for immunosuppression. This is critical research because it may solve the shortage of human donor organs. Please click the link for “Pig Heart Transplants For Humans Could Be On Their Way” by Janet Fang to read the article.