News of the WeekCell Therapies

Clean Pigs Offer Alternative to Stem Cell Transplants

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Science  20 Nov 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5956, pp. 1049
DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5956.1049-a

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About 100 swine at the University of Minnesota's Schulze Diabetes Institute constitute the first herd in the country specially bred to supply insulin-secreting pancreatic islets for people with diabetes. A scientific team hopes to start clinical trials using these cells within a couple of years. But in addition to immunological challenges, they face the difficulties of gaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for grafting living animal tissues into humans (as opposed to mechanical aids such as cartilage) as well as overcoming public aversion to the idea.