[B]iotechnology startup eGenesis [just] raised $38 million to fund a new effort to edit the DNA of pigs so they can serve as the source of transplant organs.
The plan, says the company, is to use the gene-editing method known as CRISPR to introduce extensive DNA modifications into pigs as a way of humanizing their organs so they won’t get rejected if transferred into a person.
Now the group plans even more extensive modifications to pigs, including using gene editing to snip away pig molecules that the human body attacks. [Company cofounder Luhan Yang] says the company will also add to the pig’s genome genes that modulate the immune response and modify certain factors involved in coagulation.
The need for organs remains acute. Everyone eventually dies of organ failure. But there are millions whose lives could be extended if only they could get a replacement heart, liver, kidney, or lungs. The problem is even worse in China, says Yang, since organ donation is not widely accepted there.
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