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Human organs ‘could be grown in animals within a year’

There is widespread support in Japan for research that has raised red flags in other countries. Scientists plan to introduce a human stem cell into the embryo of an animal – most likely a pig – to create what is termed a “chimeric embryo” that can be implanted into an animal’s womb.

That will then grow into a perfect human organ, a kidney or even a heart, as the host animal matures.

This is actually big news. Being able to grow organs as opposed to having to harvest them from donors would be a great advance. Instead of waiting for a suitable donor to die, patients needing a new heart or kidneys would only have to wait for one to be grown for them. If the stem cells came from the patient, my guess is that a host of organ rejection issues would simply go away.

When the adult creature is slaughtered, the organ will then be harvested and transplanted into a human with a malfunctioning organ.

And have the post harvesting BBQ with the left over pig!

OK, I’m just kidding about the last part.

This is really interesting stuff. Imagine being able to grow all of these organs when they are needed.

Of course it will take a few years for this to become practical for treating humans. More in the U.S. because the FDA will study this to death before it will approve the process. If it does. If it doesn’t then people are going to travel to other parts of the world for treatment and another industry will die in the US because it’s been regulated to death.

Anyone that follows medical research knows that most of the interesting and useful data is coming out of Japan, Australia, and parts of Europe. The FDA’s rules have restricted research to the point where very little is done in the US.

That’s not new, but over the past several years the trend has accelerated. Bureaucratic inertia at it’s best.

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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.


  1. This makes me think of the “Live Organ Transplants” sketch from Monty Python.

    • Probably, maybe even longer. When I was a kid, people were talking about how some day we’d have TVs that didn’t require picture tubes and that we could hang on walls. It took a long time, but we now those are common place.

  2. Interesting stuff, although my mortgage company and I wish they’d wait about 30 more years to perfect it. I guess I can always become a pig farmer.

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