Frankenswein

Apr 2013
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Left coast
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A transplanted pig's heart lives for months in a baboon — is a human trial next?

Lots of fodder for a herd of comedians, but still, a tremendous tech advance for humanity. But another blow to concerns over too many people.

Xenotransplantation — the use of organs from other animals for human transplantation — may be closer after European researchers showed they were able to transplant a pig's heart into a baboon, and keep it alive for more than six months.

"This is huge," said Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, the surgeon-in-chief at Toronto's University Health Network, director of the lung transplant program, and a professor of thoracic surgery at the University of Toronto.

Organ transplants are a life-saving miracle of modern medicine, but one of the barriers that keeps human to human transplants from being used more widely is the shortage of donor organs. That's why for decades scientists have studied the potential of xenotransplantation.

But over decades of experimentation in animals, researchers have encountered severe roadblocks. Keeping organs alive during transplantation proved difficult. Immune system tissue rejection has been a huge issue. And new troublesome incompatibilities between donor and recipient kept popping up.
A transplanted pig's heart lives for months in a baboon — is a human trial next? | CBC Radio
 
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