British doctors are considering modifying pig organs to transplant them in ten or so new-born babies with a genital deformity, namely oesophageal atresia. This rare condition prevents them from swallowing properly. It can be diagnosed in the foetus from the 20th week of pregnancy, and treated surgically at birth. However, the operation carries a risk. Eventually, doctors hope to be able to use the same procedure for adults with oesophageal cancer.
Pig oesophaguses of different sizes have already been tested in pigs. Animal cells are removed to retain only the structure. Patients’ stem cells, taken from the muscles and deformed oesophagus of the newborn infant, will recolonise the organs. This should take eight weeks according to scientists. Transplantation could therefore be carried out two to three months after birth.
Daily Mail, Kelly Mclaughin (16/04/2017)
Photo: Pixabay / DR