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dynonline.net Diciembre 16, 2017


Gene editing may pave way for pig to human organ transplants

14 Agosto 2017, 12:09 | Tejano Barbas

Gene editing may pave way for pig to human organ transplants

GM pigs as human organ donors moves a step closer

In a key step, the scientists used the genome-editor CRISPR to cripple all 25 copies of "PERV" genes - DNA in the pig genome that makes potentially unsafe viruses that could infect anyone who receives a pig organ. (PERV stands for porcine endogenous retroviruses.) Initially, in about one-third of the CRISPR'd pig cells, the PERV genes were nearly all gone. "Our study highlights the real concern and the significance of addressing this issue", study co-author Luhan Yang, the co-founder of biotech company eGenesis, tells The Verge.

The private company eGenesis was founded by two men, is thus achieved to obtain the birth to 37 piglets whose organs may be suitable for xenotransplantation, is a transplant from donor animals.

Many patients may prefer a human organ, Cooper acknowledged, but that is not always possible.

The general population of adults was about evenly divided on the use of gene editing in their children, Pew said, with 50 percent rejecting it and 48 percent choosing the procedure.

When asked about it, Dixon Kaufman, the President of American Society of Transplant Surgeons said that it will only be years before xenotransplantation comes into existence.

Every year, around 30,000 patients look for an organ transplant from a proper donor. The other problem is the risk for infection: the pig genome is riddled with infectious agents called porcine endogenous retroviruses, or PERVs. In the context of xenotransplantation, those elements pose two separate challenges. It may be years before enough is known about the safety of pig organ transplants to allow them to be used widely.

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Gene editing has been generating plenty of buzz recently.

But making 25 cuts throughout the pig's genome led to DNA instability and the loss of genetic information. So, the researchers added a cocktail of chemicals and factors that suppressed such suicidal signals.

The team showed that around half the cells had some damage to their genome as a result of the procedure, which could stem from off-target effects, the chemical cocktail, or genome rearrangements that occurred in the course of on-target editing.

Put simply, CRISPR is a DNA sequence that can detect and destroy attacks from certain viruses.

There is disagreement about whether pig organs would have to be PERV-free to be successfully transplanted into people. When the human embryonic cells (cells derived from embryos developed from eggs fertilised in the lab) were monitored for four months, the number of porcine retroviruses increased over time.

Still, the team is continuing to monitor the health of the pigs, looking for abnormalities in blood and histology as well as signs that the animals may be tumor-prone over the long haul.



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