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Transplanting pig valves has become common, but major organs have been more difficult. Progress is being made to turn xenotransplantation into an engineering rather than a research task. There is a great mismatch between the supply of organs and the demand from patients. Until human stem cell treatments allow the growth of human organs, the more likely source of organs will be young pigs. Unfortunately, the human body is smart enough to recognize that an organ is not human, and will try to kill it, despite the fact that the immune response may also kill the human. Pigs are being genetically modified to remove molecular markers thereby hopefully reducing the likelihood of rejection. An attendant hurdle is legal, allowing the necessary testing to happen with humans. Conflicting values will create a great debate.

(Click on the image for the link.)

“Surgeons Smash Records With Pig-To-Primate Organ Transplants” – MIT Technology Review

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