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We’re Redefining Regenerative Medicine

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Researchers across the globe are working with pigs as sources of cell, tissues and organs for xenotransplantation. Studies include the use of pancreatic islet cells and neural cells from pigs for insulin-dependent diabetes and refractory parkinsonism, as well as perfusion of a patient’s fluids through a pig liver situated outside the patient’s body as a temporary strategy to treat liver failure. Patients with Huntington’s disease, which is a neurodegenerative condition characterized by uncontrolled movement and mental deterioration, also are receiving modified tissues (skin and nerves) from pigs as an experimental treatment. Most recently successful organ transplants of the heart and kidney have been performed using genetically engineered pig organs. Collectively, these studies are testing the safety and effectiveness of this promising source.

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Some Pig!

After six years of research and development, living skin from genetically engineered pigs is helping to heal patients.


98% of Human Genes
Can be Found in Pigs

The genetic DNA similarity between pigs and human beings is 98%. These similarities include various anatomic and physiologic traits, such as organ placement (and often size and function), skin similarities and some disease progression.


A pig weighing around 60 kilograms will, for example, resemble a human body in many ways, including fat distribution, cover of hair and ability to attract insects. For this reason, pigs have been used in medical research for over 30 years and are what’s known as a translational research model. This means that if something works in a pig, it has a higher possibility of working in a human. So, in the world of medicine, it’s likely the pig’s popularity will only continue to rise.

Why the Pig Model Works

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