Scientists revolutionized the field of medicine by developing human cells inside pig embryo. This represents one of the first steps towards achieving their primary goal. Scientists’ purpose is to grow human organs in animals to perform transplants for people. These cells composed only a small part of each embryo. Researchers also reported that these embryos are only a few weeks old.
- Scientists have injected human cells into pig embryo.
- Then, these embryos were implanted into saws.
- After approximately three weeks, 186 such embryos were removed and analyzed.
Undoubtedly, this human-animal study has enabled several ethical concerns. In 2015, the US government suspended the funding process for this human-pig experiment. The newly developed research prepared by Spain and California was funded by private corporations.
Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, one of the co-authors of the paper published in Cell magazine, stated that growing human organs in pigs is a goal far from being reached. But he noted that this experiment could be considered the first step towards accomplishing the bigger goal.
Nevertheless, before they achieve it, growing human cells in animals could probably account for studies explaining the development of genetic diseases. Animals which carry cells from several species are named chimeras. This type of experiment has been performed in the past, but at a lower scale, mixing mice with rats. To create human organs, larger animals are needed, such as pigs.
If that goal is achieved, it could also help the shortage of human donors whenever a transplant is required. The Salk team is struggling to develop human pancreases, livers, and hearts inside pigs’ body. These animals would be modified in such a way that they could grow these organs in place of their own. The pigs would be euthanized before the organs are removed and ready for transplants.
Scientists claim that most of the cells forming the organ would be human. Jun Wu, another researcher working on the study, argued that by injecting stem cells from the person ready to receive the transplant directly into the pig embryos might eliminate the problem of rejection, or at least minimize it.
The new paper argues that researchers have used human cells, able to develop a broad range of specialized cells. They have injected those cells into pig embryos created in labs, with three to ten cells apiece. Then, scientists implanted those embryos into saws. After three or four weeks, about 186 embryos were extracted and analyzed.
Image source: wikipedia