A biotech company is genetically engineering pigs so that their organs might work in people.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Medicine
Surgeons Smash Records with Pig-to-Primate Organ Transplants:
With the financial aid of a biotechnology executive whose daughter may need a lung transplant, U.S. researchers have been shattering records in xenotransplantation, or between-species organ transplants.
The researchers say they have kept a pig heart alive in a baboon for 945 days and also reported the longest-ever kidney swap between these species, lasting 136 days.
The experiments used organs from pigs “humanized” with the addition of as many as five human genes, a strategy designed to stop organ rejection.
The GM pigs are being produced in Blacksburg, Virginia, by Revivicor, a division of the biotechnology company United Therapeutics. That company’s founder and co-CEO, Martine Rothblatt, is a noted futurist who four years ago began spending millions to supply researchers with pig organs and has quickly become the largest commercial backer of xenotransplantation research.
Rothblatt says her goal is to create “an unlimited supply of transplantable organs” and to carry out the first successful pig-to-human lung transplant within a few years.
One of her daughters has a usually fatal lung condition called pulmonary arterial hypertension. In addition to GM pigs, her company is carrying out research on tissue-engineered lungs and cryopreservation of organs. “We’re turning xenotransplantation from what looked like a kind of Apollo-level problem into just an engineering task,” she says.