Researchers are implanting human immune systems in pigs to study diseases—how here’s it works.


Researchers are implanting human immune systems in pigs to study diseases—how here’s it works.

Healthcare research has come a long way since the dark days of old, when even the most minor ailments may result in death. And now, thanks to this news, there’s reason to be optimistic about the future.

A team from Iowa State University stated, according to BigThink, that they’ve discovered a way to integrate human immune systems in pigs, allowing them to examine illnesses more closely.

In other words, scientists “humanized” the pigs in order to better understand how to cure human ailments in the future.

Their findings have far-reaching consequences as well. This innovation, according to the experts, might possibly boost healthcare research in areas like virus and vaccines, cancer, and even stem cell treatments.

Previously, mice were frequently utilized in biotech and medicinal research. However, the results obtained in mice do not always translate well to humans.

Primates, in addition to mice, have been used in relevant disciplines of healthcare study due of their biological similarities to humans. Nonetheless, numerous ethical concerns arose, prompting the removal of primates, including chimps, from this type of research eight years ago.

This isn’t the first time that medical research has created what are essentially human-animal hybrids in order to examine diseases.

Three years ago, a group of scientists from New York’s Rockefeller University succeeded in creating a human-chicken embryo in order to better understand the complexities of stem cell therapy.

Also see: Scientists Want To Make Part-Human, Part-Animal Chimeras To Find Disease Cure

How Did These ‘Humanized’ Pigs Get Their Names?

It all began when the same Iowa State University scientists found a genetic abnormality in pigs that caused a disease known as SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency).

Some may be familiar with this because of the 1976 film “The Boy In The Plastic Bubble,” which portrays the story of a youngster whose immune system never fully developed. As a result, he was forced to live in a sterile bubble because even the tiniest bit of cold would kill him.

Following this discovery, the researchers created a pig that is far more immunocompromised than a person with SCID, and then effectively “humanized” it by injecting human immune stem cells into piglets’ livers.

Using ultrasound imaging as a guide, the researchers were able to do this.

Ultrasound imaging, commonly known as sonography, uses high-frequency waves to examine the interior of the body. News from Brinkwire in a nutshell.


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