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Friday, June 27, 2014


Pigs Created for Stem Cell Research

Posted Monday, June 9th 2014 @ 6am  by By KTRH’s Nikki Courtney
Researchers at the University of Missouri have made an important contribution to the advancement of stem cell research.  They made a pig.
But not just any pig. 
“The main focus was to create some pigs that you could transplant human stem cells in.  These are not embryonic stem cells, but stem cells in this case derived from umbilical cords.  And the cells wouldn’t be rejected,” Dr. Randall Prather, Director of the National Swine Resource and Research Center, tells KTRH News. 
The pigs are genetically modified to not have an immune system, which makes them very vulnerable to the slightest bacteria and enormously expensive to keep alive.  But for the purposes of research, the pigs were given transplants of human stem cells and did not reject them.
“Before these pigs were made if you were going to do similar types of studies you’d about have to do it with a mouse,” says Prather.  “And that creates some real problems when you try to translate it to the clinic just because the size and the physiology are so much different.”
People have been given pig heart transplants and heart valves for years.  It is hoped that these new pigs will allow testing and treatments for people with compromised immune systems and possibly organ development for transplant.  And it could be a giant leap forward for stem cell research.

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