6 June : Scientists have created the world’s first pig stem cells from porcine ear and bone-marrow cells, a breakthrough which paves the way for safer organs for transplant into humans.
A team at Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology in Shanghai has claimed that it is the first to achieve this in hoofed animals, which can also help in cloning pigs which are disease-free.
According to the scientists, induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells have the potential to turn into all types of body tissue. And, the big advantage is that they can be genetically manipulated in the lab, and then cloned to create animals with new traits.
By adding or deleting certain genes, the scientists could produce pigs whose organs can be transplanted into human patients without them being recognised and rejected, the ‘New Scientist’ reported.
Lead researcher Lei Xiao said,” The pig species is significantly similar to humans in its form and function, and the organ dimensions are largely similar to human organs.
"We could use these cells to modify the immune-related genes in the pig to make the pig organ compatible to the human immune system. Then we could use these pigs as that won’t trigger an adverse reaction from the patient’s own immune system."