POLISH SCIENTISTS CLOSER TO PIG-TO-HUMAN BODY-PART TRANSPLANTS

SUMMARY: "Researchers in Poland have genetically modified four pigs so that they possess a combination of two genes which make them genetically closer to humans than other pigs. This means human immune systems would be less likely to reject the pigs’ body parts and organs during a transplant operation. This breakthrough, made by experts at the Institute of Zootechnics in Kraków, brings scientists close to being able to produce pigs whose body parts could be harvested for use in patients, Polish newspaper Dziennik Polski reported."

Researchers in Poland have genetically modified four pigs so that they possess a combination of two genes which make them genetically closer to humans than other pigs. This means human immune systems would be less likely to reject the pigs’ body parts and organs during a transplant operation. This breakthrough, made by experts at the Institute of Zootechnics in Kraków, brings scientists close to being able to produce pigs whose body parts could be harvested for use in patients, Polish newspaper Dziennik Polski reported.

It would be easiest to transplant pigs’ skin, cartilage and heart valves, as human bodies are less likely to reject these. “The transplantation of liver, heart or kidneys has a higher risk of rejection [by the human body]. This is why we are continuing our work on getting pigs which have a complete set of four genes which decrease the immunological barrier,” professor Zdzisław Smorąg, this project’s manager, told Dziennik Polski. Pigs are very similar to humans in terms of their DNA makeup. Some 94 percent of pig DNA matches with the DNA of a human being. The only other animal that has a closer DNA match is a monkey, with 98 percent correlation. The project, which is financed by the state budget, will run until 2013.

SOURCE: Warsaw Business Journal, Poland
AUTHOR: Izabela Depczyk
URL: http://www.wbj.pl/article-57991-polish-scientists-closer-to-pig-to-human...
DATE: 13.02.2012