Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Skin grafts from genetically modified pigs may offer alternative for burn treatment

Date:
May 27, 2014
Source:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Summary:
A specially-bred strain of miniature swine lacking the molecule responsible for the rapid rejection of pig-to-primate organ transplants may provide a new source of skin grafts to treat seriously burned patients. A key component in the treatment of major burns is removing the damaged skin and covering the injury, preferably with a graft of a patient's own tissue. When insufficient undamaged skin is available for grafting, tissue from deceased donors is used as a temporary covering. But deceased-donor skin grafts are in short supply and expensive.

Bandaged arm (stock image). "These results raise the possibility not only of providing an alternative to deceased-donor skin for many patients but also that, in patients whose burns are particularly extensive and require prolonged coverage, sequential use of GalT-knockout and deceased-donor skin could provide extended, high-quality wound coverage," says co-author David Leonard.
Credit: fotocociredef73 / Fotolia

A specially-bred strain of miniature swine lacking the molecule responsible for the rapid rejection of pig-to-primate organ transplants may provide a new source of skin grafts to treat seriously burned patients. A team of investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) report that skin grafts from pigs lacking the Gal sugar molecule were as effective in covering burn-like injuries on the backs of baboons as skin taken from other baboons, a finding that could double the length of time burns can be protected while healing. The report in the journal Transplantation has been published online.

"This exciting work suggests that these GalT-knockout porcine skin grafts would be a useful addition to the burn-management armamentarium," says Curtis Cetrulo, MD, of the MGH Transplantation Biology Research Center (TBRC) and the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, corresponding author of the Transplantation paper. "We are actively exploring options for establishing clinical-grade production of these grafts and hope to begin a clinical trial in due course."

A key component in the treatment of major burns, particularly those involving more than 30 percent of the body surface, is removing the damaged skin and covering the injury, preferably with a graft of a patient's own tissue. When insufficient undamaged skin is available for grafting, tissue from deceased donors is used as a temporary covering. But deceased-donor skin grafts are in short supply and expensive -- disadvantages also applying to artificial skin grafts -- must be carefully tested for pathogens and are eventually rejected by a patient's immune system. Once a deceased-donor graft has been rejected, a patient's immune system will reject any subsequent deceased-donor grafts almost immediately.

The current study was designed to investigate whether a resource already available at the MGH might help expand options for protecting burned areas following removal of damaged skin. For more than 30 years David H. Sachs, MD, founder and scientific director of the TBRC, has been investigating ways to allow the human body to accept organ and tissue transplants from animals. Sachs and his team developed a strain of inbred miniature swine with organs that are close in size to those of adult humans. Since pig organs implanted into primates are rapidly rejected due to the presence of the Gal (alpha-1,3-galactose) molecule, Sachs and his collaborators used the strain that he developed to generate miniature swine in which both copies of the gene encoding GalT (galactosyltransferase), the enzyme responsible for placing the Gal molecule on the cell surface, were knocked out.

When Cetrulo's team used skin from these Gal-free pigs to provide grafts covering burn-like injuries on the backs of baboons -- injuries made while the animals were under anesthesia -- the grafts adhered and developed a vascular system within 4 days of implantation. Signs of rejection began to appear on day 10, and rejection was complete by day 12 -- a time frame similar to what is seen with deceased-donor grafts and identical to that observed when the team used skin grafts from other baboons. As with the use of second deceased-donor grafts to treat burned patients, a second pig-to-baboon graft was rapidly rejected. But if a pit-to baboon was followed by a graft using baboon skin, the second graft adhered to the wound and remained in place for around 12 days before rejection. The researchers also showed that acceptance of a second graft was similar no matter whether a pig xenograft or a baboon skin graft was used first.

"These results raise the possibility not only of providing an alternative to deceased-donor skin for many patients but also that, in patients whose burns are particularly extensive and require prolonged coverage, sequential use of GalT-knockout and deceased-donor skin could provide extended, high-quality wound coverage," says co-author David Leonard, MBChB, of the TBRC and Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. "A high-quality alternative to deceased-donor skin that could be produced from a specially maintained, pathogen-free herd of GalT-knockout miniature swine would be an important resource for burn management in both civilian and military settings."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alexander Albritton, David A. Leonard, Angelo Leto Barone, Josh Keegan, Christopher Mallard, David H. Sachs, Josef M. Kurtz, Curtis L. Cetrulo. Lack of Cross-Sensitization Between α-1,3-Galactosyltransferase Knockout Porcine and Allogeneic Skin Grafts Permits Serial Grafting. Transplantation, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1097/TP.0000000000000093

Cite This Page:

Massachusetts General Hospital. "Skin grafts from genetically modified pigs may offer alternative for burn treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140527114921.htm>.
Massachusetts General Hospital. (2014, May 27). Skin grafts from genetically modified pigs may offer alternative for burn treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140527114921.htm
Massachusetts General Hospital. "Skin grafts from genetically modified pigs may offer alternative for burn treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140527114921.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. 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