Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources
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Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources
Combining reports, research findings and topic reviews
Curated by Deborah Verran
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Human-Animal Hybrid: Scientists Grow Human Cells Inside Pig Embryos

Human-Animal Hybrid: Scientists Grow Human Cells Inside Pig Embryos | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

Scientists injected pig embryos with human stem cells to produce animal embryos that contain human cells. What are the dangers and potential benefits of this technology? This is explored in the full article which can be accessed via clicking on the banner headline.


This online article is the result of the publication of the findings of sophisticated laboratory research into the creation of embryos which contain cells from two different animals. In the research quoted above this involved placing genetically modified human stem cells into pig blastocysts (at the pre-embryo stage). Despite evidence of the human stem cells initially surviving there was limited evidence of them being present at the pig embryo stage as outlined in the full scientific report-


http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(16)31752-4


Despite the headlines generated in some quarters by this particular research, this does not mean that the transplantation of organs from 'humanized pigs' is just around the corner as may have been implied.



Deborah Verran's insight:
This proof of concept study will now need to be followed by more sophisticated research in order to ascertain whether this will lead to so called humanized organs in pigs.
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Scarring Cells Revert To Inactive State As Liver Heals

Scarring Cells Revert To Inactive State As Liver Heals | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

Scarring in the liver contributes to cirrhosis, which in it's most severe form leads to morbidity and even mortality. Currently only liver transplantation is a viable treatment for severe cirrhosis in the absence of effective medications to either halt and/or reverse this scarring process within the liver.

 

Hence research which investigates how such scarring may be prevented or reversed is of interest. Although this report is on research performed in mice, it does provide a glimmer of hope that by understanding the cellular processes within the liver, that ultimately effective drug therapy can be developed to prevent even further damaging scarring(or liver fibrosis), from occurring.

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Nature | News Miniature human liver grown in mice - Nature.com

Nature | News Miniature human liver grown in mice - Nature.com | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

Reported via the science journal Nature,  news that miniature human liver buds have been grown in mice

This article has attracted a lot of attention, however this is a proof of concept study and as noted in the article 'the transplanted animals need to be observed for several more months to see whether the cells begin to degenerate or form tumours'.

 

As reported via The Guardian, there is hope in the future that this type of research will eventually lead to treatments that will help alleviate the requirement for livers from organ donors-

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/jul/03/human-liver-stem-cell-treatment

Deborah Verran's insight:

This research only solves one piece of the complex puzzle of 'growing' organs in the laboratory. Hence in the short to medium term, liver transplantation will require that the organs are sourced from organ donors.

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