SOUTH KOREA: S.Korea scientists clone pig for human transplants
Posted: April 23rd, 2009 - 2:57am
SEOUL -- South Korean scientists said they have cloned a piglet whose organs were genetically modified to make them more suitable for human transplants.
Lead scientist Lim Gio-Bin said the cloned piglet, born on April 3, had been genetically altered to lack the "alpha-gal" gene which triggers tissue rejection.
He said his government-sponsored team, involving scientists from four universities and two research institutes, used stem cells of smaller-than-normal pigs to clone "mini-pigs" with modified genes.
Immuno-rejection has been a major hurdle in human organ transplants.
Pig organs are well suited for transplantation but are coated with sugar molecules that trigger acute rejection in human bodies. Human antibodies attach themselves to such molecules and quickly destroy the transplanted pig organ.