A CRISPR Company Is Testing Pig Organs In Monkeys To See If They’re Safe For Us

By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

Geneticist George Church, of Harvard University, in 2017 predicted that within a couple of years, pig organs can be transplanted into humans. 

His startup eGenesis has made strides in biotechnology with news spreading of newer innovations. They have started testing pig organs for transplantation in monkeys which, if successful, would heavily relieve the stress on human organ shortages. 

The testing is being conducted in the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. They haven’t tried it out on humans yet, but they are hopeful, as mentioned by the transplant surgery Chief, James Markmann. 

 With respect to testing it on animals, Markmann, who is also one of the advisers to eGenesis, says that this is the best they can do under the present circumstances. 

Although they are suspiciously quiet on the monkeys used or the organs tested, Markmann and eGenesis claim that the pig organs are heavily engineered by the best scientists.  

Doctors all over the globe have been heavily invested in genetic engineering, which involves transplanting pig organs into humans. While there have been strides made in recent years by German surgeons, like baboons living for at least 6 months after a pig’s heart was swapped with theirs, there has been nothing conclusive found. It must also be said that there are almost 100000 Americans waiting on the transplant list, so the need is now. 

The pigs used for such experiments are usually engineered by Revivicor, a subsidiary company of United Therapeutics. These pigs are developed in such a way, so as to prevent human ejaculation of a foreign substance, blood clots, and other attacks of immunity.  

Devin Eckhoff of the University of Alabama is desirous to test it out on humans. Considering all the advances made, such a desire can be understood. 

 Despite that, there have been no conclusive results and there are always debates going on about the modification of a pig. Church’s company eGenesis really came to the forefront when they started engineering and modifying pigs left, right and centre using CRISPR. The co-founder to the company, Luhan Yang in 2015 demonstrated how she could conduct 62 edits simultaneously to a pig’s DNA, one of which involved removing viruses that loiter around in a pig’s genome.  

Yang’s company has now declared that they can conduct double-digit editing on a pig, which would significantly enhance their biology, and might actually help in transplantation. Lang claims that her pigs are the most scientifically advanced in the world.

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