Xeno-Skin: Genetically engineered pigs may be source of transplantable skin for humans

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Image: Stripey Anne

In a pathogen-free facility in Grafton, Massachusetts, a small town about 40 miles west of Boston, genetically engineered miniature pigs are being bred to donate their skin to humans.

Their skin, which looks remarkably similar to the human variety and is referred to as Xeno-Skin, will be transplanted by surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital to a small group of burn victims in an attempt to speed up the healing process. It’s the first experiment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use living animal tissue in humans, a necessary step toward someday transferring entire organs grown in animals to people who need them — a process known as xenotransplantation.

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So far, one patient has received the genetically engineered pig skin graft, and five more burn victims are slated to receive it.

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Doctors involved in the trial say the donor tissue appears to be healing as well as a human skin graft.

In the meantime, XenoTherapeutics is also developing nerves grown in the genetically engineered pigs that could be transplanted into people with nerve damage from car accidents, falls, or other injuries. The company hopes to begin a clinical trial for that approach in 2020.

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Read full, original post: Surgeons Transplanted Living Pig Skin Onto Humans for the First Time

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