Scientists: We Can Make Pigs Grow Human Organs

Process has already been used to make mice grow rat organs
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2011 7:53 AM CDT
Scientists: We Can Make Pigs Grow Human Organs
Someday, pigs could have human hearts, livers, or other organs.   (Shutterstock)

Japanese researchers have hit on a stem cell breakthrough that they say could essentially solve the organ shortages problem—but fair warning, it’s weird. By injecting stem cells from rats into the embryos of mice that had been genetically modified to be unable to grow their own organs, the researchers have been able to create mice with rat organs. And they believe the same process could be used to create pigs with human parts, the Telegraph reports.

The scientists have already made pigs with human blood, using human blood stem cells. “We are now rather confident in generating functional human organs using this approach,” the lead researcher said. Bonus: Using stem cells from the intended organ recipient could significantly lower the risk of rejection. The most immediate application might be for diabetes—in the mice test, the organ generated happened to be a pancreas, the organ that produces insulin. (More stem cells stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.