Human Organs To Be Grown In Pigs Using Human Stem Cells!
Patients awaiting organ transplants need not worry anymore! Scientists are testing the prospects of growing human organs using human stem cells inside the bodies of pigs, which can be transplanted into their bodies in the near future.
A team of researchers led by the Director of the center for stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at the University of Tokyo, Professor Hiromitsu Nakauchi successfully demonstrated that it is possible to generate organs of a species in a totally different species by injecting stem cells into the latter’s embryos.
The research involved the injection of rat stem cells into the mice embryos. Prior to this procedure, the mice were genetically modified in such a way that they could not produce their own organs. The rat stem cells formed rat organs within the mice bodies.
This technique, known as blastocyst complementation, can be used to grow human organs in pig bodies using patients’ own stem cells in a similar fashion according to the researchers.
In the current experiment, stem cells taken from rats were injected into the blastocysts or embryos of mice that were genetically modified in such a way that they could not grow their own pancreas (responsible for the production of insulin).
It was observed that in the empty space of pancreas the rat stem cells grew to form rat pancreas.
Similarly, if human stem cells injected into the pig bodies grow into pancreas, people suffering from diabetes will find a new way of treating the disease by replacing pancreas.
The group already succeeded in generating human blood from human stem cells injected into pig embryos.
According to Nakauchi, it is unethical to create organ deficient human embryos. So, the technique was used on livestock animals such as pigs.
If further studies show positive results in growing human organs in these animals, the problem of organ transplantation can be solved.