Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Transplanting organs from animals to humans: what are the barriers?

27.03.2007
Given the huge shortage of donor organs, researchers have been trying to find ways to transplant animal organs across different species (known as "xenotransplantation"), with the eventual aim of transplanting animal organs into humans.

The major stumbling block, says Dr Muhammad Mohiuddin (US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) in a paper in PLoS Medicine, is that the immune system in the animal receiving the organ tends to reject the transplant.

Nevertheless, the recent development of genetically modified pigs that are more compatible with humans, "has reinstated hope for the success of xenotransplantation," he says.

In his paper, Dr Mohiuddin discusses the reasons why xenotransplantation offers greater potential than other techniques for replacing diseases organs.

For example, mechanical devices that are aimed at replacing the function of an organ (like ventricular devices for treating heart failure) have a tendency to cause blood clots and are not yet proven suitable for replacing transplantation. And while the idea of growing organs in culture dishes has fascinated scientists for years, he says, there have been no major success stories yet.

In contrast, Dr Mohiuddin believes that there have been some promising reports that suggest that xenotransplantation may eventually benefit humans.

For example, insulin-producing cells (islets) from pigs were transplanted into monkeys with diabetes and this led to complete reversal of diabetes for over 100 days. But such research is still a long way off from being relevant to humans, says the author. For example, in the pig-to-monkey studies, very large doses of drugs called "immunosuppresants" were needed to stop the monkeys' immune system from rejecting the pig islet cells—such doses would be unacceptable in humans.

In addition to immune rejection, another concern about xenotransplantation is the risk of transmitting viruses and other pathogens from one species to another.

"Whether the risk of transmission of these pathogens will increase with xenotransplantation is not yet known," says the author. "But the risk can be anticipated, and thus prepared for. A long-term careful follow-up of transplanted patients will be required to monitor for infection by latent viruses and other pathogens. A timely intervention would be important to treat the infection and control its spread to other individuals."

Citation: Mohiuddin MM (2007) Clinical xenotransplantation of organs: Why aren’t we there yet? PLoS Med 4(3): e75.

Andrew Hyde | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plosmedicine.org
http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040075

Further reports about: Mohiuddin Xenotransplantation transplant

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>