Another solution for the growing lists of patients needing organ transplants is embryonic stem cells from pigs, Israeli scientists claim. Previous experiments with pig stem cells have failed, but the Israelis have now discovered why. Apparently the stem cells need to be transplanted within a certain window of time or the procedure will fail. Pig liver cells work best when transplanted at 28 embryonic days while lung cells worked best at 56 days.
When embryonic pig cells are used, there appear to be fewer problems with rejection, although scientists still fear that there is a possibility of transmitting porcine endogenous retroviruses. The Israeli researchers have been encouraged by initial results, but human trials are still at least five to ten years away. Before that happens, the efficacy and safety of the technique must be tested on non-human primates.
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