For the first time, scientists have grown embryos that contain a combination of pig and human stem cells, in a step towards one day growing transplantable human organs, a study says.
However, the research remains at a very early stage and proved more difficult than expected, the researchers reported in the peer-reviewed journal Cell on Thursday.
“This is an important first step,” said lead investigator Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor in the Salk Institute of Biological Studies’ Gene Expression Laboratory.
“The ultimate goal is to grow functional and transplantable tissue or organs, but we are far away from that.”
Scientists implanted adult human stem cells – known as intermediate induced pluripotent stem cells – into pig embryos and allowed them to grow for four weeks.
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