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Baboon Survives 945 Days With Genetically Modified Pig Heart Xenograft

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posted on Apr, 5 2016 @ 11:02 PM
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Organ transplants save the lives of many people each year and yet many others die waiting on lists or are unable to even get on the lists in the first place. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, there were 2,553 organ transplants in the US in 2015 and there are currently 121,170 people on waiting lists. Based on National Kidney Foundation statistics, 13 people die each day in the US waiting for kidneys alone.

One possible solution to the issues of availability of human organs is the transplantation of organs from non-human donors. Older readers might remember the tragic story of Baby Fae, the first infant subject of a xenotransplant who died a few short weeks after the procedure when the baboon heart she'd received was rejected. In recent years, scientific and technological progress have spurred research into multiple prospective avenues for organ replacement (and regeneration), displacing interest in xenotransplantation research.

While the field has been somewhat languishing, research continues and though arguably too little too late, advancements are still being made.

The heart from a genetically modified line of pigs (1,3-galactosyltransferase gene knockout pigs) survived attached to the circulatory system of a Baboon for 945 days. The line of pigs in question have had their genes edited through a process called gene knockout to prevent the synthesis of an enzyme which catalyzes the synthesis of a carbohydrate (Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose) found in the cell membranes of most non-primates and not found in primates (for an estimated 20-25 million years) — a molecule that is an epitope for which humans and baboons have abundant antibodies — leading to hyperacute rejection (HAR). These knockout pigs have only been available for about a decade.

Gizmodo - Baboon Survives Nearly Three Years With a Pig’s Heart and Humans Might Be Next


Using genetic techniques and a chemical cocktail, scientists managed to sustain a pig’s heart inside a baboon for 945 days, establishing a new benchmark for cross-species transplantation. If extended to humans, the technique could be used to ease the ongoing organ shortage. Cross-species transplantation, or xenotransplantation, is proving to be a tough challenge. The primary obstacle for researchers has been the strong immune reaction of recipients, resulting in organ rejection. To date, typical survival times for species-to-species transplants—such as pig hearts being transplanted to baboons—have been limited to the 180 to 500 day range, which is frustratingly brief.

For the experiment, cardiologist Muhammad Mohiuddin from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and his colleagues implanted a pig heart into a baboon. The pig organ did not replace the baboon’s heart, but was instead connected to the baboon’s circulatory system where it was monitored for more than two years. Baboons are typically used in studies like this because they’re closely related to humans; if it works in a baboon, it’ll likely work in a human. To help the baboon avoid organ rejection, the researchers used a previously established line of donor pigs with three key genetic modifications. These genetic tweaks were baboon-friendly, allowing a significant degree of immune tolerance among the primates. To supplement this, the researchers improved a treatment based on antibodies and drugs to control the baboon’s immune system.


945 days is nearly double the 500 days of the team's previously established benchmark. Of the five baboon's in the experiment, the median length of graft survival was 298 days which was a 60% improvement. The upshot here is that the combination of genetic modification and a regimen of new immunosuppresants has drastically extended the time that rejection could be staved off. Unfortunately, eliminating gal alpha(1,3)gal is only one piece in the xenotransplantation puzzle but for me, having a parent with end-stage renal disease, it's good to know that scientists are engaging in multiple lines of attack and though it doesn't look like progress will come swiftly enough in our family's case, I hold on to some measure of cautious optimism.

You can also read about recent efforts to transplant lungs from knockout pigs to baboons here.
edit on 2016-4-5 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 5 2016 @ 11:27 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Damn, dude. Just left Durham, NC....two options for father-in-law: A) pig heart, or B) 'heart pump'. His heart is beyond diseased; the PICC told us today we're short on time and long on odds. Hope this works out well for him and those peeps at Duke. Kismet, sychronocity, or whatever, glad you posted.




posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 12:32 AM
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People are so GD afraid to die. What a bunch of cowards.

No one lives forever. Get used to it.

The post-antibiotic era is here. No one will escape.



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 02:43 AM
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a reply to: 123143

Crazy isn't it.... The one thing that definitely happens to us all and the modern population is scared witless over it.

Reminds me of a good quote from a good film:
"Come on you apes, you wanna live forever?!"



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 02:52 AM
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I remember like 20 years ago watching a documentary about someday using pig organs or using pigs to grow human organs. I guess it's been a lot harder then they thought.



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 06:50 AM
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Man, animals rights activists already despise the idea of farming animals for meat. Wait until we start harvesting them for organs.



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 07:46 AM
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While I always appreciate news regarding the progress of health sciences and don't reject the concept of xenografting organs and tissues on any moral objections, I personally view them as a stop-gap measure given the stunning advances in stem cell and engineered tissues in recent years, which have little-to-no chance of rejection from the patient. Too much risk of complications with inter-species transplantation, and the risk has not appreciably been diminished with decades of experimentation - but I say this with admittedly little knowledge and no research on the subject.



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 11:23 AM
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a reply to: ketsuko

If Aliens ever come to harvest us for our organs, lifeforce, blood, whatever then we'll really have no right to complain when it's something we practice ourselves on beings we consider beneath us
edit on 6/4/16 by Discotech because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 11:35 AM
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originally posted by: 123143
People are so GD afraid to die. What a bunch of cowards.

No one lives forever. Get used to it.

The post-antibiotic era is here. No one will escape.



originally posted by: and14263
a reply to: 123143

Crazy isn't it.... The one thing that definitely happens to us all and the modern population is scared witless over it.

Reminds me of a good quote from a good film:
"Come on you apes, you wanna live forever?!"


You both seem to be looking at organ transplantation as it pertains to extending the average life span but I believe you're ignoring how many young people need organ transplants:

Organdonor.gov:


As of May 2015, according to OPTN, there are 55,282 people between 50 and 64 years old on the national waiting list and 25,908 people over 65 years old on the national waiting list.


That means that about a third of the people on waiting lists are 49 years old or younger, including thousands of children.



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 11:38 AM
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Really interesting "achievement". I am very spit by this as I am strongly against animal testing as has happened in this case. To get here, how many experiments have failed?

Harvesting organs from e.g. pigs is a future I can live with and the animals are probably well keep and slaughtered humanely. Animal experimentation, such as with baboons is not something I can live with.



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 11:40 AM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Wasn't really interested in the thread per say, but very interested in the poster's observation about or approach to death. I've always had the same view as that poster. It's rare you find others.



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 12:02 PM
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a reply to: paraphi

It's primitive though harvesting organs from a living creature.

We should be utilising 3d printing tech in combination with synthesising genetic material to match that of the host to print new organs

It's already in development, hopefully it will do away with a need to harvest animals for organs.

Genetic 'glue' helps make 3D-printed organs

Maybe one day we'll also be able to use 3d printing tech to print meat with all the necessary nutrients without having to destroy animals in the process



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 12:02 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Reading this brings to mind a short movie which was on the "Short Movie" channel recently.
It concerned the aftermath of people having all their organs replaced volintarily, in efforts to have better health and a longer life.
The name of the film is "We Ate the Childern Last".

Personally, I have no arguement with someone doing everything they can to live as long as possible. So long as others are not harmed and the quality of life is maintained. I would not agree with someone being kept alive when they are little more than a vegetable.
This is why I agreed to "terminate" both my father and mother, because of their medical conditions.



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 12:32 PM
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originally posted by: Discotech
a reply to: ketsuko

If Aliens ever come to harvest us for our organs, lifeforce, blood, whatever then we'll really have no right to complain when it's something we practice ourselves on beings we consider beneath us


Why shouldn't we value the lives of members of our own species over the lives of members of other species?

How many pigs' lives is your life worth to you? Would you rather die than kill a single pig? How about five? Ten? A hundred? A thousand? What about the lives of your loved ones? What's the exchange rate there or is no life worth taking another life? Are all lives equally valuable to you? Would you rather die than kill a snake? How about a house fly?



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 01:26 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

I believe when it's our time it's our time, the world isn't built to sustain an ever growing population and I don't think animals should be intentionally created just to satisfy our desires to live for as long as possible.

Let me ask you this

If instead of pigs being used, we're using kittens or puppies for harvesting organs, how many people do you think would be okay with that ?

What if we used humans instead, using cloning technology to harvest our clones for a never ending supply of organs to keep us alive forever ? Is that okay too ?

We seem to arbitrarily have a ranking system for perceived value of life, when really all life is equally valuable, but in the grand scheme of things all life is equally insignificant

Also we have an inane need to cling onto life from a personal point because we fear the unknown of what, if anything, lies beyond death and from a selfish perspective on not wanting others to die because we do not want the feeling of loss that comes when someone close to us dies.

I'm a meat eater, I've consider going vegan because I have constant conflict with myself on the value of life and whether it's moral to be a meat eater, but in the order of nature there is always hunter and prey so it's natural to be a eater of meat. It however is not natural to harvest organs in order to preserve life, the same with genetically modifying animals and plants.

But then we reach the question, are we bound by laws of nature or are we above the laws of nature ?

If we can control nature to our needs then it suggests we are above the law of nature and then if we're above the law of nature then nothing we do can be considering "unnatural" because we are no longer bound by nature

It's an incredibly complex philosophical complex where there seems to be no correct answer and if we throw in morality as well it gets even more complex because if there's no divine being to define morality then in reality morality does not exist in the grand scheme of things and is only based on personal opinion so there is no right/wrong in the cosmos, only actions which we define as right or wrong from our own point of view.

But to go back to the original point, we really would have no grounds to complain if a race of far advanced species than we are decided to use us for their own means as we are using lesser beings for our own means.



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 01:32 PM
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originally posted by: theantediluvian

originally posted by: 123143
People are so GD afraid to die. What a bunch of cowards.

No one lives forever. Get used to it.

The post-antibiotic era is here. No one will escape.



originally posted by: and14263
a reply to: 123143

Crazy isn't it.... The one thing that definitely happens to us all and the modern population is scared witless over it.

Reminds me of a good quote from a good film:
"Come on you apes, you wanna live forever?!"


You both seem to be looking at organ transplantation as it pertains to extending the average life span but I believe you're ignoring how many young people need organ transplants:

Organdonor.gov:


As of May 2015, according to OPTN, there are 55,282 people between 50 and 64 years old on the national waiting list and 25,908 people over 65 years old on the national waiting list.


That means that about a third of the people on waiting lists are 49 years old or younger, including thousands of children.


It's called natural selection. I am all for it.



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 02:21 PM
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I am with the OP. It is not about being afraid of death people. Always think of the children! Thousands of children need organs..
And the pigs are beneath us. I would slaughter 1000 pigs to help one human i personally know. I would still slaughter 10 pigs to save the life of a complete stranger human.

Granted, growing these things in a lab would be much better. But progress is required in all aspects of things to further the end goal.



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 02:23 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

And what about cloning?

When we can start cloning human tissue and using animal bodies to sustain them, it's a short step to cloning human bodies and then harvesting those organs.

I just find it sort of starting to get into some ethics questions I find a bit ... uncomfortable.



posted on Apr, 6 2016 @ 02:24 PM
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a reply to: 123143

It is not natural selection. You are so morbid. You mean to tell me if you had a kid with failing kidneys at a young age you would say, "oh well natural selection. They deserve to die because of their #ty genes."

People like you always talk this talk but if it came down to it with you and yours personally well, you would prove to be full of #.
edit on 6-4-2016 by lightedhype because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 7 2016 @ 09:47 AM
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originally posted by: lightedhype
a reply to: 123143

It is not natural selection. You are so morbid. You mean to tell me if you had a kid with failing kidneys at a young age you would say, "oh well natural selection. They deserve to die because of their #ty genes."

People like you always talk this talk but if it came down to it with you and yours personally well, you would prove to be full of #.


Profanity is against the rules.

We are in the post-antibiotic era. You will have to adjust your attitude to accommodate more death including children.

They are not special.
edit on 4/7/16 by 123143 because: PUNCTUATION.



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