Sunday, June 18, 2017

Chimeric Pancreases Used to Cure Diabetes in Mice

This year the first human-pig chimera was made. This could be a huge step for regenerative medicine because if we could manipulate animals such as pigs to grow human organs it would eliminate the need for organ donors and organ wait lists. Human transplants are likely still a long ways off, but this February researchers sucessfully created rats with pancreases made from mouse pluripotent stem cells. They first used CRISPR to create rats without the ability to make their own pancreases, then injected the rat embryos with mouse stem cells which sucsessfully formed normally-functioning pancreases in the rats. From there they surgically removed the rat-mouse pancreases and transplanted them into diabetic mice. The transplanted pancreases succesfully normalized to the mice and maintained normal blood glucose levels in the host mice. The mice survived for over a year without immunosuppressants. This is the first time a chimeric organ has been used to treat a disease. This line of research shows promise for developing a long-term cure for diabetes.


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