Survey shows promising future for xenotransplantation
(Medical Xpress) -- Xenotransplantation, or transplanting animal parts from one animal to another, is one area of medical research that has held more promise than payoff ever since the idea was first devised. Now however, research scientists from the Transplantation Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, believe there is reason to be more optimistic. They have published the results of a survey theyve conducted regarding the current state of xenotransplantation in The Lancet.
First of all, the whole point behind such research is to find out if humans could benefit from animal parts, whether transplantation of whole organs, such as livers, lungs or hearts; or just some cells to help restore function in faulty parts, such as pancreatic islets, the part of the pancreas that contains the endocrine cells responsible for the production of insulin.
The Pittsburgh team, led by Doctors Burcin Ekser and Dr David K C Cooper, writes that because of advances in genetic modifications made in other animals, mainly in this case, pigs; parts retrieved from them are much less susceptible to attack by the human immune system. They appear so optimistic in fact, that they suggest clinical trials of certain pig parts being transplanted into humans could begin as soon as the next two years. At the same time, they are quick to point out that such trials will likely be more of the cell or tissue transfer type, rather than the bigger stuff, such as whole organs. This is because other problems with whole organs (such as clots or spontaneous bleeding) besides rejection havent been resolved yet.
As one example, the team notes that research into ways to transplant islets of Langerhans, as the endocrine cells in the pancreas are officially called, is meeting with some success. Currently, research is being conducted in New Zealand to see if sites other than the hepatic portal vein can be used to increase their survival rates. Also under study is the use of encapsulation, where the cells are kept in a sort of capsule that protects them from the immune system. If successful, such research could lead to a cure for Type-1 Diabetes though the use of neonatal piglet islets, grown in labs rather than continually harvested from live animals.
The authors also note that headway is being made into other areas of xenotransplantation as well; for example, they note that there now exists a better understanding of the ways that neuronal cells might be taken from pigs and implanted into humans to help restore function in patients with such ailments as Parkinsons disease. Also, progress is being made in understanding how corneal transplants might work.
In summing up their findings, the team writes that its all due to advances in genetic engineering that allows for the development of pigs with modified genes that produce parts that the human body wont reject. Once a certain level is reached in that area, which the authors seem to feel will happen over the next couple of years, clinical trials will move from other animals, to humans. And after that, it shouldnt be long before actual transplantations are taking place.
More information: Clinical xenotransplantation: the next medical revolution? The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 21 October 2011. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61091-X
The shortage of organs and cells from deceased individuals continues to restrict allotransplantation. Pigs could provide an alternative source of tissue and cells but the immunological challenges and other barriers associated with xenotransplantation need to be overcome. Transplantation of organs from genetically modified pigs into non-human primates is now not substantially limited by hyperacute, acute antibody-mediated, or cellular rejection, but other issues have become more prominent, such as development of thrombotic microangiopathy in the graft or systemic consumptive coagulopathy in the recipient. To address these problems, pigs that express one or more human thromboregulatory or anti-inflammatory genes are being developed. The results of preclinical transplantation of pig cellseg, islets, neuronal cells, hepatocytes, or corneasare much more encouraging than they are for organ transplantation, with survival times greater than 1 year in all cases. Risk of transfer of an infectious microorganism to the recipient is small.
© 2011 Medical Xpress
- New study reveals pigs could grow human organs Jun 21, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- A 1-2 punch: Embryonic cell and adult pig islet transplants cure diabetes in rats Jun 29, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- More than bacon: Genetic alterations in pig tissue may allow for human transplantation Jun 30, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Cross-species transplant in rhesus macaques is step toward diabetes cure for humans Oct 18, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- S.Korea scientists clone pig for human transplants Apr 22, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
May 23, 2013 Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
By discovering the new mechanism by which estrogen suppresses lipid synthesis in the liver, UC Irvine endocrinologists have revealed a potential new approach toward treating certain liver diseases.
Medical research 14 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Aortic arch pulse wave velocity, a measure of arterial stiffness, is a strong independent predictor of disease of the vessels that supply blood to the brain, according to a new study published in the June issue the journal ...
Medical research 15 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Since the discovery of Prontosil in 1932, sulfonamide antibiotics have been used to combat a wide spectrum of bacterial infections, from acne to chlamydia and pneumonia. However, their side effects can include serious neurological ...
Medical research 16 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health report they have discovered in mouse studies that a small molecule released in the spinal cord triggers a process that is later experienced in the brain as ...
Medical research 16 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Spanish researchers have discovered that the daily clearance of neutrophils from the body stimulates the release of hematopoietic stem cells from the bone marrow into the bloodstream, according to a report published today ...
Medical research 18 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0
Artemio Martinez balanced his corpulent frame on a stool in a Mexico City street taco stand, downing a sweet soda and eating a final pork-filled corn tortilla.
34 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
The World Health Organization voiced deep concern Thursday over the SARS-like virus that has killed 22 people in less than a year, saying it might potentially spread more widely between humans.
19 minutes ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
(AP)—Researchers examining the incidence of brain cancer at jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut say they have found no statistically significant elevations in the rate of cancer among workers.
9 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Regulating the distribution of power in neurons is done by a system that makes the national electric grid look simple by comparison. Each neuron has several thousand mitochondria confined ...
13 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (6) | 0 |
The British Menopause Society and Women's Health Concern have today released updated guidelines on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to provide clarity around the role of HRT, the benefits and the risks. The new guidelines ...
2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A brief visual task can predict IQ, according to a new study. This surprisingly simple exercise measures the brain's unconscious ability to filter out visual movement. The study shows that individuals whose ...
18 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (10) | 1 |