Donor organ deficiency is a serious problem for thousands of patients waiting in line for transplantation. Chinese researchers undertook to solve the problem, who edited the pig genome, providing a record level of compatibility of their tissues with the human body. The experiment was successful, and soon it is planned to begin clinical trials in patients.
The Chinese company Qihan Bio used the CRISPR technique, also called “genetic scissors”, to raise pigs with tissues that have all the necessary properties for a successful transplant to humans. Genetic modification was required to “clean” the DNA of animals from traces of viruses that cause rejection during transplantation of their tissues to humans. To prevent this process, scientists edited 13 genes – this allowed to suppress the immune response of the human body during transplantation and to regulate the level of blood coagulation.
After a series of complex DNA manipulations, embryos with new genes were created, transplanted to “surrogate mothers”. The cells of the born piglets underwent another modification – as a result, a generation of pigs was born, the tissues of which can “bypass” the protection of the human immune system and effectively take root. In 2020, the company intends to focus on additional research, and it is planned to start the start of clinical tests with pig organ transplants in the next five years.