Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Mission to ease organ shortage: Making pig livers more humanlike

Estate planningThere are currently more than 105,000 people on the waiting list for an organ transplant in the United States, and unfortunately, thousands will die before they receive life saving surgery. This number does not account for thousands of other people whose names never made the list. Scientists are continuing to experiment with new ways to ease this shortage and have found hope in bioengineered pig organs.

In a scene that looks straight from a science fiction film, a Minneapolis lab is working to bioengineer the transformation of pig livers. The goal is to shampoo away the pig cells and insert human cells into the vessel. This essentially regrows the organ so human bodies won’t recognize it as a pig organ.

A Maryland man received a heart transplant from a year last year. The genetically modified organs did not immediately trigger an attack from his immune system and he lived an additional two months. The Miromatrix bioengineering process is a bit different. No special pigs are required and scientists instead gather leftover organs from slaughterhouses.

For more information see Associated Press “Mission to ease organ shortage: Making pig livers more humanlike”, Tucson KGUN9, December 27, 2022.


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