by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Scientists in China have successfully grown early-stage human kidneys inside pig embryos, in research that may one day contribute to the supply of much-needed human organs for transplant patients, Live Science reports.
Published Thursday (Sept. 7) in the journal Cell Stem Cell, the study was led by Liangxue Lai, senior study author and a principal investigator at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Wuyi University.
The study involved placing human stem cells into genetically modified pig embryos, Live Science reports. The embryos were then implanted into surrogate pig mothers and developed early-stage human kidneys within about 28 days.
Previous research into meeting patients’ need for organs has focussed on transplanting pig kidneys and hearts into brain-dead humans, but this strategy carries a high risk of the human body rejecting the animal organ: the new study aims to circumvent this problem.
“Rat organs have been produced in mice, and mouse organs have been produced in rats, but previous attempts to grow human organs in pigs have not succeeded,” Liangxue Lai said in a statement. “Our approach improves the integration of human cells into recipient tissues and allows us to grow human organs in pigs,” Lai added.
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