Chinese scientists are desperately seeking government approval to launch a clinical trial for xenotransplantation. The goal is to transplant genetically modified pig organs into humans. This could happen as early as 2019.
Every country on Earth is in short supply of organs for transplants with some patients staying on waiting lists for years, some over a decade. Most die from health complications before they get a chance to receive a heart, lung or kidney. This situation could go on forever unless we find a way to literally grow transplant organs.
One promising approach involves genetically modifying pigs whose organs can then be transplanted to a human patient. This procedure is referred to as xenotransplantation. Out of all mammals, a pig’s organs are the most compatible with those of humans in terms of size and metabolism.