Pigs could grow human organs in stem cell breakthrough
Monday, June 20, 2011
Scientists have found they can create chimeric animals that have organs belonging to another species by injecting stem cells into the embryo of another species.
The researchers injected stem cells from rats into the embryos of mice that had been genetically altered so they could not produce their own organs, creating mice that had rat organs.
The researchers say the technique could allow pigs to grow human organs from patient's stem cells for use as transplants.
By using a patient's own stem cells it could help to reduce the risk of the transplanted organ being rejected while also providing a plentiful supply of donor organs.
Current organ shortages mean that patients must endure long waiting lists for transplants.
The researchers have already managed to produce pigs that were able to generate human blood by injecting blood stem cells from humans into pig foetuses