October 21, 2011
Pig Organs Could Be Transplanted Into Humans Within 2 Years
Scientists said that organs grown in genetically modified pigs could be transplanted into humans in as soon as two years.
Pittsburgh University scientists say that a trial transplanting pig corneas into humans with eye problems could begin as early as 2013.
"With new genetically modified pigs becoming available that are likely to improve the outcome of cellular and corneal xenotransplantation further, we believe that clinical trials will be justified within the next two to three years," the authors wrote in the journal The Lancet.
The researchers said transplants of larger organs like the lungs, hearts and kidneys is likely to take longer due to problems with clots forming.
"These problems mean that the longest survival time for pig organs in non-human primates to date ranges from a few days for lungs to around six to eight months for hearts, and trials of solid organ transplants of this nature in humans are likely to be several years away," they wrote.
However, they said that in dire situations, a heart transplant from a pig might be feasible.
"Life-saving transplants of a pig liver or heart could be justified as a bridge until a human organ becomes available."
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