Tranplanting organs between humans, being of the same species, is anything but a sure thing. Being able to transplant organs between species, with the aid of genetic engineering, could put an end to waiting lists for life-saving organ transplants.
“A monkey that received a kidney from a genetically engineered miniature pig lived for more than two years after the transplant, scientists report October 11 in Nature. The team took a molecular red pen to donor pigs’ genomes, editing the animals’ organs to be more of a match for humans. Such an editing strategy could one day make it more likely for people’s bodies to accept organs from different species.
“The work, funded by biotechnology company eGenesis, is the latest in a string of efforts seeking to use other species to address global organ shortages. The new study is ‘promising work and a step in the right direction,’ says Parsia Vagefi, a transplant surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who was not involved with the research.
“In the United States, the demand for new organs to replace damaged or diseased ones far outpaces supply. As of October 11, nearly 104,000 Americans sit on the national transplant waiting list. Some 89,000 of these people are seeking kidneys. ‘There just simply aren’t enough kidneys to go around,’ said eGenesis president and CEO Mike Curtis in a news conference on October 10. Most people waiting will never get the offer, he says. ‘They will die on dialysis.’
“That’s where cross-species transplantation — giving people organs from other animals — comes in, Curtis said. It’s ‘the only near-term viable solution to solving this huge shortfall in organ availability.’”
Genetically engineering animals to be compatible with humans?
Clearly, we are even closer to genetically engineering catgirls for domestic adoption?