Organ Transplant Breakthrough: Scientists Create First Human-Animal Chimera

Joy Montgomery
January 29, 2017

To create a chimera, human stem cells - the type that can develop into any tissue - are injected into a pig embryo. This news story is related to Latest/182119-Scientists-create-human-pig-hybrid-via-experiment/ - breaking news, latest news, pakistan ne. But none of this means it's time to give up, he added, and the studies are still important for reasons other than growing organs.

The so-called chimera embryo has been hailed as a breakthrough that could overcome the problem of organ shortages.

The team set out to create chimeras with both cows and pigs, but ended up proceeding only with pigs - approximately 3,500 of them.

The scientists first implanted adult human stem cells into pig embryos to create a chimera - an organism that contains cells from two different species.

The term chimera comes from a legend in Greek mythology, describing a monster which was often depicted as a lion with a goat's head sticking from the side of its neck, and a snake for a tail.

The development of human cells in the embryos was a random process.

It is the first proof chimeras - named after the mythical lion-goat-serpent monster - can be made by combining material from humans and animals. To generate the mouse embryos without the pancreas, Wu and the team used the gene-editing technique CRISPR/Cas9. They then inserted rat stem cells into the mouse that contained the genetic information needed to grow a rat pancreas. (Supplied: Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte / Cell Press) Human stem cells being injected into a pig embryo.

"Each mouse was healthy and had a normal lifespan, which indicated that the development proceeded properly", Jun Wu, a Salk staff scientist, said in a news release.

A recent study conducted by Stanford University School of Medicine and the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo showed that the pancreases grown on rats and generated from mice stem cells are capable of reversing the diabetes condition. To test the safety and effectiveness of their work, they stopped the experiment at four weeks. "What if we just put human cells inside the embryo and the embryo knows what do to?"

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Interestingly, the researchers noted, they also found rat cells in the mice's gallbladders, even though rats don't have gallbladders themselves.

Nakauchi called the results "essentially negative" and consistent with experiments he has also carried out on human-animal hybrids.

Several dozen embryos sat in a lab that seemed straight out of a David Lynch film-part pig, part human.

The embryos were placed back into pigs and removed for analysis three to four weeks later. After that time, they made a decision to see how everything was going. As a blob of fetal pig tissue reached the cusp of developing into a cluster of distinct organs, human cells appeared throughout the tiny organism, ready to contribute to the generation of organs.

The key to growing organs that human bodies will accept is suspected to potentially be increasing the ratio of human cells to animal cells, which could take years to successfully accomplish.

Dr. Wu added, "The larger the evolutionary distance, the more hard for them to mix". "We still have many things to learn about the early development of cells".

Ethical concerns have been raised over the use of human cells triggering human consciousness in the animal's brain.

In the tissue that would soon develop into the embryonic pig's heart, one out of every 1,000 to 10,000 cells was human.

But Hiromitsu Nakauchi, a stem-cell researcher at Stanford University in California, says that the low number of human cells in the pig-human chimaeras means that the hybrids are still a long way from serving any useful goal, such as organ donors.

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