For the first time in history, the scientists were able to grow a human organ in a sheep. This remarkable discovery can be very helpful for patients who are long-waiting for a transplant.
However, the idea of growing a human organ inside an animal is not new.
A few years ago, a team of scientists at the University of California discovered the method to grow human organs in pigs. They combined human stem cells with the pig DNA to grow a human pancreas inside a pig.
Human organs growing in sheep may save lives
The recent study was a success. Scientists were successfully able to grow a human donor organ in a sheep by using an improved method of the one presented above. According to the science team involved in the project, this is the first big leap towards solving the long waiting times of the patients on transplant lists.
Usually, patients who need a transplant have to wait several years to find a matching organ and many die waiting, unfortunately.
Even more, this method could completely cancel the risks of organs rejection. Nowadays, transplants between identical twins are the safest. However, not every patient has the luck of having an identical twin. Therefore, an organ made from the patient’s stem cells and grown in sheep is the best alternative.
Regardless the method’s positive implications in medicine, there are many ethical, legal, and even medical issues that have to be solved before human patients will take advantage of this method.
Animals have a shorter lifespan than humans
Pigs and sheep have a shorter lifespan than humans meaning that their tissues age faster. Needless to say, that issue could lead to organs dysfunctions in the long-run.
Also, scientists are concerned about the multiple alterations of the animals DNA which can lead to unknown malformations, in time.
In conclusion, scientists still have a lot of work to do to implement the transplant of human organs grown in sheep on a larger scale.