Human lives could be in pigs’ hands. Er, hooves.
Surgeons believe that within three years, adapted pig hearts could be used in human heart transplants. It is also believed that a human kidney could be replaced with a pig’s at some point this year. If a human being is able to survive with the kidney of a pig, surgeons see no reason why the same results wouldn’t be true with a heart.
The anatomy and physiology of a pig’s heart is very similar to that of a human. The hope is that since a pigs’ hearts match up so well with humans, they could help with heart attack treatments. Researchers determined that microRNA-199 could be placed in the heart to help damaged cells regenerate.
If this proves to be true, it could be a life saver. With so much heart disease and high blood pressure, heart attacks are on the rise. A treatment that can help the heart repair itself would be an unbelievable breakthrough. Scientists were able to inject microRNA-199 into pigs and there was almost a complete recovery after just a month.
More research will be conducted to make sure that this is a safe method for humans. There were some eventual complications with pigs, so researchers will need to figure out what caused those complications and how they can be controlled in humans.