Experiments using stem cells to grow human organs in pigs set for August

Experiments using stem cells to grow human organs in pigs set for August
PHOTO: Nikkei Asian Review

TOKYO - A Japanese researcher will soon launch experiments at Stanford University designed to produce human organs in pigs using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

The experiments, which will get underway in August, will be conducted under professor Hiromitsu Nakauchi, who holds dual professorship at Stanford and the University of Tokyo and who has researched iPS cells at the Japanese school's Institute of Medical Science.

His laboratory will use the cells to grow human pancreases, livers and other internal organs inside pigs, with the goal of applying experimental findings in the field of regenerative medicine within 5-10 years to repair or assist diseased or damaged organs.

Experiments will begin with the fertilized eggs of pigs genetically engineered to lack pancreases.

Blastocysts will then be injected with human iPS cells and implanted in the uterus of a surrogate pig.

Researchers expect that the cells will adapt to form a pancreas after seeing similar results in experiments where mouse embryos lacking the organs were injected with rat iPS cells.

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