Transplanting organs from pigs to humans - that is the aim of an ambitious project lead by two of our researchers from the Department of Biomedicine Lin Lin and ‘Alun’ Yonglun Luo in collaboration with their mentor professor George Church from Harvard Medical School.
Pigs have long been considered one of the promising alternative sources of organs due to their anatomical and physiological similarities with humans. However, two of the remaining barriers in the pig-to-human transplantations are rejection of the transplanted organs and the risk of getting viral infections.
The international trio therefore want to develop and refine techniques for generating the best genetically modified pigs resistant to immunological rejection and viral infections. For this purpose they use CRISPR gene editing and cloning – areas where George Church belongs to the world elite.
Lin Lin has received DKK six million from Independent Research Fund Denmark for her work on developing these strongly demanded new technologies in xenotransplantations, which is the professional term for transplantation of cells, tissues or organs across species. The funding has given Lin an opportunity to establish herself as research group leader with a highly esteemed partner.