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Pig Organs Could be Transplanted Into Humans

Credit: Reuters

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.