‘Futuristic star’: The scientist growing transplantable human organs in pigs


Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte had spent years probing the inner workings of embryos, ferreting out the genes that give a body its shape or allow wings to form instead of legs….But one thing he never stopped thinking about was how salamanders could lose parts of their bodies and then regrow perfect replacements. Was it possible, he wondered, that humans might do the same?

The dogged pursuit of that question has pushed Izpisua Belmonte to the forefront of biology as he’s made one stunning discovery after another…

Early this year, seeking a way to grow human organs for transplant, his group announced it had created pig-human chimeras — fetal pigs with human cells mixed in…


Izpisua Belmonte, now 57, is an unlikely star of this futuristic arena. He was born in rural Spain to a farm family so poor that he had to drop out of elementary school at age 8 and work in the fields…

His quest for regeneration started with limbs…They were also a lot like organs — even using the same genes and pathways to develop. He thought being able to create organs for the tens of thousands of desperate people on transplant waiting lists might be one of the most important things he could do…

Izpisua Belmonte readily admits that he’s a long, long way from growing any human organs in pigs. First, the team will need to create chimeras with a much higher percentage of human cells. Izpisua Belmonte thinks that’s coming.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: The creator of the pig-human chimera keeps proving other scientists wrong

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