Tissue recipients are free of pig virus.A new study bodes well for organ transplants and other medical treatments that mix human and pig cells. Researchers examined 160 patients who had undergone, during the past 12 years, a variety of experimental procedures that use pig tissue. In some cases, physicians had run patients' blood through external pig spleens, livers, and kidneys. Other treatments included grafts of pig skin and transplants of porcine porcine /por·cine/ (por´sin) pertaining to swine.
pertaining to pig. See also hog (1), swine.
porcine circovirus 1
a nonpathogenic virus. pancreatic endocrine cells.
Although potential benefits of transplanting a pig's heart, kidney, or other tissue to humans are great, such experimental procedures may also be dangerous. The patient's immune system may reject the porcine tissue, or the pig's organ may not function smoothly in its new host. Physicians have also recognized a third obstacle. Pig tissue might infect patients with viruses that don't otherwise infect humans.
One such microbe microbe /mi·crobe/ (mi´krob) a microorganism, especially a pathogenic one such as a bacterium, protozoan, or fungus.micro´bialmicro´bic
n. is porcine endogenous retrovirus, or PERV PERV Porcine Endogenous Retrovirus
PERV Progressive Evolution of a Rock Vision (band) , which all pigs carry without showing any symptoms (SN: 4/19/97, p. 245).
A report in the Aug. 20 SCIENCE, however, indicates that pig-tissue treatments don't infect humans with PERV. Using a technique known as polymerase chain reaction polymerase chain reaction (pŏl`ĭmərās') (PCR), laboratory process in which a particular DNA segment from a mixture of DNA chains is rapidly replicated, producing a large, readily analyzed sample of a piece of DNA; the process is to search for the retroviral DNA DNA: see nucleic acid.
or deoxyribonucleic acid
One of two types of nucleic acid (the other is RNA); a complex organic compound found in all living cells and many viruses. It is the chemical substance of genes. in patients' blood, researchers led by Khazal Paradis of Imutran, a biotechnology company in Cambridge, England, found that none of the patients treated with pig tissue was infected with PERV. Although 23 patients retained some pig cells for up to 8 1/2 years after treatment, they showed no sign of the virus.
In an editorial accompanying the report, Robin A. Weiss of University College London “UCL” redirects here. For other uses, see UCL (disambiguation).
University College London, commonly known as UCL, is the oldest multi-faculty constituent college of the University of London, one of the two original founding colleges, and the first British remarks, "For the individual transplant recipient, the real promise seems to be greater than uncertain peril." Indeed, pig-to-person transplantation might pose a lesser threat of infection than a graft from an unknown human donor does, he says.