Biotech Updates

Scientists Take a Step Closer to Growing Human Organs for Transplants

September 13, 2023

Scientists from Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health developed a human-like kidney in pigs using engineered human pluripotent cells and injecting them into the genetically engineered embryo of a pig. A total of 1,820 embryos were transferred to 13 surrogate sows and 5 embryos were selected for analysis. It was found that these embryos have functionally normal kidneys for their stage of development.

The researchers deleted two genes from the pig embryos to lack its ability to grow a kidney. Similarly, the human cells are genetically tweaked to resemble early human embryonic cells and increase their ability to develop into any kind of cell. These were essential for the human cells to survive in an environment not natural to their development.

After 28 days of development, study shows that the cells in these organs are mostly human cells up to 60%. According to the researchers, this is a pioneering milestone in which scientists have been able to grow a solid humanized organ in another species. This entails that even though this research is not intended to be transplanted to patients, this only proves that growing human organs in other mammals is possible.

With much ethical consideration, the researchers are optimistic that a transplantation-ready organ may come to a reality in a few decades.

For more information, read the article from Cell Stem Cell.

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