Japanese Team Plans to Grow Human Pancreases in Pigs

Society Lifestyle Science Technology

Tokyo, March 1 (Jiji Press)--A research team led by Hiromitsu Nakauchi, project professor at the University of Tokyo, said Friday it will apply for approval by the university's ethics screening committee as early as this spring for its research plan to grow human organs such as pancreases in pigs.

The team unveiled the schedule after the Japanese government on Friday lifted its ban on research to produce human organs in animals. The team's plan, which requires approval from the government's special committee as well as the university committee, will be the first such study in Japan.

Amid a shortage of human organs for transplantation, the team aims to produce organs available for use in humans in the future. It will also consider growing livers and kidneys, it said.

Nakauchi said he is happy that research to produce human organs in animals has become possible after many years of discussion. "We will proceed with the research plan carefully and with transparency," he said.

The team's plan calls for injecting human induced pluripotent stem, or iPS, cells into pigs' fertilized eggs modified so that they cannot produce pancreases or other organs, and returning the eggs to the uteri of pigs. The resulting fetuses will have organs with human cells as well as pig cells.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press