Sunday, 12 June 2016

Can Growing Human Organs in Pigs Solve the Organ Shortage?

Back in the 90s, a deeply disturbing image surfaced on the nascent Internet: a lab mouse with something looking like a human ear grown on its back.
Although the “ear” was later proven to be cow cartilage — with no human tissue involved — the misinformation had spread like wildfire. The Internet exploded with cries of outrage (who are we to manufacture animal into organ farms?) and misplaced enthusiasm that science could soon provide people with an unlimited supply of spare organs.
Fast-forward 20 years, and we’ve reached that point again. Only this time, the promise is real.
Guided by sophisticated stem cell technologies and CRISPR, the genome-editing powertool, small teams of scientists have begun pushing the limits of creating human-animal chimeras. The controversial experiments hope to grow human organs inside pig embryos, from stem cells made with a patient’s skin cells.
Because the organs would have the patient’s genetic makeup and immune profile, in theory they would be completely compatible with the patient, with no risk of immunorejection.
It’s a medical dream come true.read more

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