…The ultimate goal of this type of work is to grow human organs inside of other animals as a means to ending the organ shortage that is costing thousands of Americans — who need a transplant — their lives each year.
Well, not just Americans but we get the point. Now cue the “OMG Frankenstein chimera!” lamentations of the Medieval segment of the public. I’m sure if there’s a Christian Doomsday Clock somewhere, it has moved a few minutes closer to the Apocalypse now.
But seriously, when you overcome your initial revulsion (“OMG, this is so sick!”), and force yourself to study this, you might consider this. Think of this way: if you transplant a kidney into a pig, it’s still a pig. Transplanting cells that could grow one of YOUR kidneys in a pig still makes it a pig, which you might one day need very much.
This scientific achievement holds promise of helping so many people needing organ transplants for everything from cornea eye to kidney transplants. It also helps have a rudimentary understanding of CRISPR gene editing. Regarding “human-pig” chimeras, the key is in understanding “induced Pluripotent Stem Cells”, or iPS for short. There are three types, and the type used to grow organs are iPS cells.
“iPS cells offer great therapeutic potential. Because they come FROM A PATIENT’S OWN CELLS (caps mine), they are genetically matched to that patient, so they can eliminate tissue matching and tissue rejection problems that currently hinder successful cell and tissue transplantation.” (source)
Thus, these are NOT cells used from an aborted fetus. Thus,
1) If you need a pancreas transplant, a sample of cells from YOUR own body, like skin cells, are used, and 2) The scientists used a pig’s “egg” and edits out, or snips out its gene for a pancreas, using the CRISPR gene editing. That egg then could not produce a pig pancreas, but – the human skin cell, when injected into the egg, can fill in the void, creating and growing a replica of YOUR pancreas in a pig fetus.
Genius, humane cures, and what the 21st century should be about… I hope we don’t blow this. Medieval fundies, I’m looking at you.