Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Data presented on first cloned, double knock-out miniature swine

15.01.2003


Important goal achieved in potential animal-to-human organ transplantation



In a session today at the annual meeting of the International Embryo Transfer Society (IETS), Randall Prather, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Reproductive Biotechnology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, announced the successful cloning of the first miniature swine with both copies of a specific gene "knocked out" of its DNA. The ultimate goal of this research, which is being conducted in partnership with Immerge BioTherapeutics, Inc (a BioTransplant Incorporated (Nasdaq:BTRN)/Novartis Pharma AG (NYSE:NYS) joint venture company), is to develop a herd of miniature swine that can be used as a safe source for human transplantation, a process known as xenotransplantation.

"The fact that we have been able to clone this particular strain of miniature swine with both copies of the gene that produces GGTA1 knocked out is a very exciting step for the field of xenotransplantation," said Dr. Prather, a researcher in MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. "Organs from regular swine are too large for human transplant, and this particular strain of miniature swine has been refined for years solely for its potential use in humans."


New options for organ sources are desperately needed to treat the rapidly increasing number of critically ill people on the transplant waiting list (more than 80,000 in the U.S. alone). Researchers have targeted the pig as the best potential candidate for an alternative organ source because of the similarity between human and pig organs and the relative ease of breeding. However, the massive rejection response mounted by the human immune system has been a major hurdle in this research.

A key player in this rejection process is the gene called a-1,3-galactosyltransferase or GGTA1 that produces a sugar molecule. When a foreign organ is introduced, human antibodies attach to the sugar molecule on the surface of pig cells produced from the action of the GGTA1 molecule, thus killing the organ. With both copies of this gene eliminated, the antibodies cannot attach, halting the early rejection process.

Dr. Robert Hawley and scientists at Immerge, in collaboration with Dr. Kenth Gustafsson, first identified the gene that produces GGTA1 and eliminated, or knocked it out, of the DNA of the cells from the miniature swine. This genetic material was then sent to Dr. Prather’s lab, where Dr. Liangxue Lai and colleagues implanted it into an egg that had its DNA eliminated. The egg was stimulated to begin dividing and was later implanted into a sow. Prather and Immerge announced in January 2002 in the journal Science that they had successfully cloned the world’s first single knock-out miniature swine. The genetic material from these swine was then re-engineered with the aim of knocking out the second copy of this critical gene. These cells were then subjected to another round of nuclear transfer cloning, leading to the birth of the double knock-out piglet on November 18, 2002.

In addition to the modified genetics, the Immerge miniature swine also have other important advantages as potential transplantation candidates.

"The strain of swine we are working with seems to be incapable of transmitting Porcine Endogenous Retrovirus (PERV) to human cells in culture, as we reported in March 2002 in the Journal of Virology," said Julia Greenstein, Ph.D., CEO and President, of Immerge. Unlike other viruses, which can be eliminated either through breeding or raising pigs in a clean lab environment, multiple copies of PERV form part of the normal genomic DNA of pigs and are therefore passed from one generation to the next "Although the risk of any harm posed by PERV to xenotransplant recipients may be purely theoretical, use of this line of miniature swine would help minimize this particular risk of this new technology," said Dr. Greenstein.


The University of Missouri-Columbia has a long-standing research collaboration with Immerge and BioTransplant Incorporated in the field of porcine genetic engineering. This close collaboration has allowed this important research to progress at an accelerated pace. The current collaboration is supported by a National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovative Research grant.

Immerge BioTherapeutics was formed on September 26, 2000, as a joint venture between Novartis Pharma AG and BioTransplant Incorporated. The company, which began operations on January 2, 2001, focuses its research efforts toward developing therapeutic applications for xenotransplantation. The name of the company derives from its use of immunology to address the challenges of conducting transplants between species.

Susan Hayes | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells
12.12.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Smelling the forest – not the trees
12.12.2018 | Universität Konstanz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Innovative Infrared heat reduces energy consumption in coating packaging for food

12.12.2018 | Trade Fair News

New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

12.12.2018 | Information Technology

Obtaining polyester from plant oil

12.12.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>