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MU Scientists Successfully Transplant, Grow Stem Cells in Pigs

June 4, 2014

R. Michael Roberts is a Curators Professor of Animal Science and Biochemistry and a researcher in the Bond Life Sciences Center. His discovery of a new line of pigs that don’t reject transplants, will allow for future research on stem cell therapies.

Story By: MU News Bureau

“The rejection of transplants and grafts by host bodies is a huge hurdle for medical researchers,” said R. Michael Roberts, Curators Professor of Animal Science and Biochemistry and a researcher in the Bond Life Sciences Center. “By establishing that these pigs will support transplants without the fear of rejection, we can  move stem cell therapy research forward at a quicker pace.”

In a published study, the team of researchers implanted human pluripotent stem cells in a special line of pigs developed by Randall Prather, an MU Curators Professor of reproductive physiology. Prather specifically created the pigs with immune systems that allow the pigs to accept all transplants or grafts without rejection. Once the scientists implanted the cells, the pigs did not reject the stem cells and the cells thrived. Prather says achieving this success with pigs is notable because pigs are much closer to humans than many other test animals. More…