Pigs are very similar to humans but their organs were not good for us…but now something may change thanks to a new innovative gene-editing method.
It’s a common belief that there is a very high degree of similarity between a human and a pig. This opened the possibility – hope – to use them as a source for tissue and organs for humans, but there was a problem: rejection and latent viruses…until now.
A new scientific discovery may change how we see the world and live – at least how we cure ourselves. The biotechnology start-up eGenesis in Cambridge used the CRISPR gene-editing method to extensively modify pigs DNA so that their organs can be “humanized” and successfully transplanted to humans.
The company modified the DNA inside living cells and eliminated the latent viruses in the pig’s genome – that can harm humans.
Scientists injected the genetically modified cell into an egg to form an embryo, then transferred it to a surrogate sow. The procedure was a success and they created the first piglets without endogenous latent viruses. What’s happened so far just in cells, it’s now realized in real living pigs and the study was published in the Science journal last 10th Aug 2017.
After four months some of them are still alive and will be monitored for any long-term effects and impact by the eGenesis team. Time will reveal if the new method is a success even in the long term, making it a valid help to the great need of transplant organs.
You can download the study and read more here.