Pig organs to be used for human transplants in just TWO years

GM pigs as human organ donors moves a step closer

Pig organs to be used for human transplants in just TWO years

"We don't know that if we transplant pig organs with the viruses that they will transmit infections, and we don't know that the infections are risky", Fishman said.

"Our animal is probably the most [genetically] modified animal on the Earth", said Luhan Yang, co-founder and chief science officer of eGenesis, the Cambridge-based start-up that led the research.

If xenotransplantation - using organs from other species - works, then it has the potential to alleviate long waits for a transplant.

This makes it possible for organs from pigs to be transplanted into humans in the future.

Since the 1960s, surgeons have made various attempts to transplant primate organs into people, although these were unsuccessful.

According to eGenesis, over 117,000 Americans are now on organ transplant waiting lists, and 22 people die each day waiting for a transplant.

Pig organs are roughly the same size as those of humans, making them ideal for xenotransplantation. There are around 25 PERV strains, the active retrovirus in pigs.

The general population of adults was about evenly divided on the use of gene editing in their children, Pew said, with 50 percent rejecting it and 48 percent choosing the procedure. This doesn't mean that pig organs are ready for humans just yet, but the study, published today in Science, raises hopes that the technology is finally ready to make animal organs fit for people.

Now they have taken the genetic material from such cells and, using a similar technique to the one used to clone Dolly the sheep, inserted it into pig eggs.

"We want to create a world where there is no organ shortage", Yang said.

Researchers showed that the retrovirus could spread from pig cells to humans in laboratory settings. "Colleagues keep asking me when we're going to do it".

Society might have a broad acceptance of consuming them in the form of pork and bacon, but the idea of stitching pig tissues into our bodies is a whole other ball game. Tector says his own team stopped worrying about the viruses years ago, because it is not clear whether the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will require the viruses to be removed prior to transplantation. "Our ability to be successful would make a potentially significant impact on the thousands of patients waiting for organ transplants".

Genetically modified pigs are being engineered to grow human transplant organs, but the existence of Pervs has been a major stumbling block in the development. Some of the animals died before birth or soon after, but the team ended up with 15 living piglets, the oldest of which survived up to four months after birth. Just last week, USA scientists were able to demonstrate they could successfully CRISPR out a faulty heart gene mutation in human embryos.

Researchers at eGenesis claim this is an exciting and promising step, according to the BBC. This adds to the growing number of transplants that are already in relatively widespread use in medicine (heart valves, skin grafts for burn patients, etc.).

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