An achievement that could change transplantology

An achievement that could change transplantology

Using CRISPR technology, US researchers have succeeded in eliminating potentially dangerous human retroviruses from the genetic material of porcine. The achievement could revolutionize transplantation.

Deficiencyór organów and tissues needed for transplantationów has long been one of the most significant and unmet problems of theóin medical. Lists of waspsób waiting for transplants in each center, whichóry offers them, are long and the vast majority of patients do not manage to wait to find a suitable donor. Because of this, thousands of patients are dyingów annually.

The best organ donorsów for humans are other people… and pigs. For years, research has been conducted on so-called. xenografts, or organ transplantsów or tissue from an individual belonging to another species. Contrary to appearances, human genetic material does not ródiffers significantly from the genetic material of pigs. The size of the organ is also appropriateów and mechanism of action. But there are other problems standing in the way.

One of them was eliminated by researchers from Harvard University and the eGenesis company. With help came the technique of gene editingóIn CRISP-Cas9. It is through this method that scientists have removed all 62 elements from the genetic code of pigs, in których „were hiding” endogenous retroviruses called PERV (Porcine Endogenous Retrovirus).

In earlier studies, it was shown that these viruses can escape from the comórek of the transplanted organ and infect the recipient. Geneticists first located and characterized retroviruses present in fibroblasts – comórkach skóry taken from pigs. After using CRISPR technology, they obtained PERV-free genetic material. Obtained in this wayób the nucleus of the comóThe embryos were implanted into comóporcine egg records, creating dozens of embryoniców. After implantation of the embryoó37 piglets were born in the sowsów lacking endogenous retrovirusesóin PERV.

– These are the first ever virus-free pigsóin PERV, yet the most genetically modified animals ever born. The bottom line is that 37 pigletsów was healthy – admitted Dr. Luhan Yang of eGenesis. The study also involved world-renowned geneticist George Church, who has been affiliated with Harvard University for years.

The feat of the American researchers has aroused admiration among theód enthusiastsóin kesnotransplantation. However, to safely transplant pig organsóin a long way. HeadóA major problem in transplantology is the significant risk of organ rejection. It is the body’s defensive response to a foreign protein found in the transplanted organ. The body’s response can be controlled to some extent by immunosuppressive drugs – inhibiting the activity of the immune system, but this is associated with other risks. In the case of an organ from another species, this risk seriously increases. This problem has not yet been eliminated.

Another promising method of obtaining organóin for transplantation is their laboratory culture. The application here is comóstem cells, from whichófrom which the organ is grown. This method has advantages over other majorównie because such an organ would not be rejected by the organism. It would be treated by the immune system as a „swój”, because it would arise from the comórek of the same sourceódła. This method is still being developed, but currently there is no significant success in this fieldów.

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