An average of 22 people die in America every day while waiting for organ transplants, but a group of researchers from the biotech company eGenesis hope to eventually change that statistic by using organs from cloned pig cells.
Using a gene-editing tool called CRISPR, the researchers edited the DNA of pigs, removing potentially harmful viruses from their organs. Scientists then cloned those edited cells, put them in an egg, and implanted that egg into a sow. This enabled them to ultimately breed pigs with virus-free organs.
So why is this significant?
“In studies done before, if you took pig cells and human cells and put them together, the viruses would go to the human cells. And so now they’ve been eliminated, or inactivated. So all of a sudden, it opens the door for the potential of pigs,” CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus said Friday on “CBS This Morning.” “Pigs’ organs are about the same size as human organs, so it’s actually perfect for transplantations.”