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 Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion

24.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

ADIR Project: Lasers Recover Valuable Materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>