Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Transplanting Organs From Animals To Humans: What Are The Barriers?

Date:
March 28, 2007
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
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.

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. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040075)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Transplanting Organs From Animals To Humans: What Are The Barriers?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070327094800.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2007, March 28). Transplanting Organs From Animals To Humans: What Are The Barriers?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070327094800.htm
Public Library of Science. "Transplanting Organs From Animals To Humans: What Are The Barriers?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070327094800.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins