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China to Use Harvard Gene Pigs for Transplant Test

by 5m Editor
6 July 2009, at 9:08am

CHINA - A Chinese hospital in southwestern Sichuan Province will import four genetically-engineered pigs from Harvard University to carry out pig-to-monkey organ transplant experiments, a doctor said Friday.

Under the agreement signed by the Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital and Harvard University on Wednesday, the four pigs would arrive in China within three to six months, said Yang Hongji, director of the hospital's Clinical Organ Transplantation Center.

As a platform for cooperation, the two sides had jointly established a lab for xenotransplantation studies at the hospital, Mr Yang said.

Xenotransplantation is a surgical procedure in which tissue or whole organs are transferred from one species to another. Harvard University was one of the earliest institutions in the world to conduct such studies.

"We will mainly carry out three clinical pig-to-monkey xenotransplantation experiments after we import the pigs," Mr Yang said.

He said the experiments would include transplants of pig's liver, pancreas and kidney to a monkey and related studies, such as how to cultivate livers and kidneys that can be used for human organ transplants, he said.

In addition to organ transplants, medical and science workers at the lab plan to use the four pigs to do other research, including how to apply pig's tissues, such as skin, bone and vein, to cosmetic surgeries and treatment of injuries.