Pig organ transplants in humans move one step closer

Genetically Modified Pigs Are Putting An End To The Organ Shortage Crisis

Pig organ transplants in humans move one step closer

This isn't the first time this year that humans and pigs have been forced together by science, in order to further the prospects for organ donation.

According to the UNOS web site, there were 33,611 organ transplants in 2016 and 116,800 patients on waiting lists. One way to make up the deficit would be to transplant the organs from animals such as pigs.

Researchers say a "promising strategy" is developing that could lead someday to transplanting vital organs from pigs into humans. The projects took were complicated and costly and many animal right activists started targeting the Gene Editing scientists.

The reality of pigs becoming human organ donors has moved a step closer after a breakthrough study successfully removed potentially hazardous viruses from the animals' DNA. "We are pushing the envelope of technology day by day". "I think the risk to society is very low".

"We got perfectly healthy piglets", Church tells The Verge, "so that's wonderful".

The scientists removed porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERV) in the pigs using the CRISPR gene-editing technique. "If you could help them with a pig organ, wouldn't that be wonderful?" And burn patients sometimes get grafts made of pig skin. Therefore, the first pig to human organ transplantation could still be years away. Then there are other issues, such as blood clotting problems-and the PERVs. Dr. A. Joseph Tector, a transplant surgeon at the University of Alabama at Birmingham added that pig retroviruses can be treated with drugs used against HIV AIDS virus.

Yang, co-founder and chief scientific officer of eGenesis, joined professors from several Chinese universities and one from Denmark to pen the study published on the Science journal on Friday.

Despite the presence of highly modified cells in the population, none of the cloned cells could be grown with greater than 90% PERV editing efficiency.

Planting tissues that contain PERV right next to our own organs raises the risks of a risky new pathogen being formed, one which could potentially turn nasty.

Although this process did not always work, 37 pigs were born with the new genetic information. In a lab dish the pig viruses infected human cells, and those infected cells were able to infect other human cells that had not been directly exposed to pig cells.

The availability of organs for transplant is a matter of life and death for thousands of patients. Inactivating the virus could ease those concerns. Scientists still don't know whether the viral particles they produce can infect humans at all, he notes, much less whether they would cause disease if they did.

He said: "The viruses are particularly troubling".

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