Scientists are placing gene edited pigs organs into monkeys but, why?
Xenotransplantationis the process of transplanting organs or tissues between members of different species.
Do you know that nearly half a million people die annually due to unavailability of organs in India? And currently, more than 100,000 Americans are waiting on the transplant list. It is a big challenge for the medical fraternity to overcome the shortage of organs. Scientists have come up with an option based on CRISPER gene editing that might help solve the shortage.
This transplantation is specifically called Xenotransplantation. Essentially, it’s a process of transplanting organs or tissues between members of different species. The cells, tissues or organs that are transplanted are called xenografts or xeno-transplants. Using this technology scientists are planning to transplant organs from the bodies of pigs to humans who are in need of an organ transplant. It is currently being tested on monkeys.
Additionally, genetic modification is done to reduce the risk of rejection of the organ, to stop blood clots, and to reduce the chances of immune attacks. Scientists modify the gene so that it becomes more acceptable once it has been transplanted into the body of some other animal, in this case, humans.
The CRISPER gene editing process is used to modify the genetic makeup of the organs of the pigs so that it can be transplanted into humans. Due to various risks like the organs not getting accepted in the body, scientists are first trying it on monkeys.
It’s not clear which organs are being studied and which species of monkey is involved in the experiments.
Earlier, scientists have transplanted pig’s heart inside a baboon (along with his own heart) and kept it alive for two years. They also managed to keep baboons alive for six months after completely swapping the heart. All these experiments show that this technology can also be tested on humans.
However, scientists are still debating when to start transplanting the organs directly to the human body. A few arguments against the idea are the non-consistent results scientists have seen on monkeys. Anotherpoint that needs to be talked about is the number of gene modifications that should be done in pigs, along with a consideration of the conditions that will need to be applied while testing the technology on humans.