A crazy idea? Perhaps not so much. Professor Hiromitsu Nakauchi hopes to grow human pancreas’ inside pigs.
Science will never stop surprising us. Professor Nakauchi said he wants to grow pancreas’ using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
Induced pluripotent stem cells, what are they?
The induced pluripotent stem cells are created in a laboratory from somatic cells (they constitute the immense majority of the cells constituting an individual). The peculiarity of these cells? They can differentiate into any cell of the human body. Unlike human embryonic stem cells, iPSCs are created in the laboratory. They solve the ethical problems posed by stem cells of human origin.
Human pancreas in a sow
Hiromitsu Nakauchi, a professor at Stanford University and Tokyo, specializes in stem cells. He hopes to launch the project of human organs that can grow in a sow within a year, once the Japanese government and universities have validated his project explains the Japan Times. He wants to use these organs created surprisingly in the treatment of diseases such as diabetes within ten years.
This decision of the Nakauchi team does not happen by chance. It comes shortly after the Japanese government changes its laws on the genetic modification of animals with human cells. While patients remain for years on lists in waiting for an organ, this experience, if successful, could help save many lives.
But then, how are scientists going to do it?
The Professor Nakauchi team will inject human iPS cells that can develop into any form of cell in an embryo genetically modified sow so that it can not develop a pancreas. The embryo will then be placed in the uterus of a sow that will play the role of a surrogate mother. The fetus will then be removed prior to delivery to examine the amount of pancreatic tissue from the iPSCs and verify its viability.