China researchers closer to use animal organs in humans

Researchers with the Nanjing Medical University, Jiangsu Province, said that pig organs were expected to be put on clinical trials within two to three years, depending on the type of organs, Global Times reported.

They have voiced confidence that genetically modified pigs would provide much-needed organs for transplant into human bodies.

"We expect to take pig cornea and skin to clinical test first, probably within two years. Major organs like heart, kidney and liver could take up to five years," Dai Yifan, lead researcher of the project said.

Dai said the pig organs would have been genetically altered to be compatible with the human body, and strict hygiene supervision would make them free of bacteria or virus.
Lou Jinning, director of the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the Beijing-based China-Japan Friendship Hospital, cited the latest progress of Dai's team as "an obvious breakthrough" in China.

Lou believed transplanting animal organs into human bodies is a trend in bioengineering and pigs are the best possible animal for this.

Statistics show there are around 1.5 million patients in China on the waiting list each year for a transplant organ, but the number of donors is only about 10,000, less than one percent of the demand.

In the meantime, some doctors have voiced their concerns over such experiment.
"We have to admit animals are still different from human bodies and the success on monkeys does not necessarily mean success in humans," Dr Ding Yitao at the Nanjing Gulou Hospital said.

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