Title of Project

Xenotransplantation: Using Pig Organs for Human Transplants

Researcher Information

Jessica Gonzalez

Project Type


Start Date

7-4-2006 12:00 AM

End Date

7-4-2006 12:00 AM

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Apr 7th, 12:00 AM Apr 7th, 12:00 AM

Xenotransplantation: Using Pig Organs for Human Transplants

Xenotransplantation is a potential organ replacement therapy that offers enormous promise. Ultimately this new and developing technology would allow for mass production of pig organs to combat the shortage of human organs for transplant. In this literature review, the current process of xenotransplantation is being studied to see whether it could be the answer to the shortage of organs and the death of so many in need of an organ each year. Xenotransplantation has some short comings that must be overcome before its use. Currently some of the major molecular difficulties with pig organs in humans include hyperacute rejection and the porcine endogenous retrovirus known as PERV. Hyperacute rejection involves the human immune system responding to the carbohydrate epitopes found on the pig’s endothelial cells which leads the body to reject the organ. PERV is a retrovirus that was discovered to be a component of every pig cell. Current research indicates that PERV may infect human cells if a whole organ pig to human transplantation were performed. If human cells are indeed infected, the virus could mutate and potentially become just as virulent as the AIDS virus. In this paper these obstacles and possible solutions are explored.