After being carried out for the first time in the world, the transplantation of the kidney from a pig to a human in the United States of America (USA, the University of São Paulo (USP), with a similar line of research, started tests in this direction. research led by Silvano Raia, is a pioneer in liver transplantation in Latin America.The surgeon hopes that the first tests with human beings in Brazil will take place in two years, if the study gets investment to build a biosafety breeding (pig facility).
In an interview with Correio Braziliense, the researcher said that work in the US opens the door. “As much as the laboratory data indicated that we were on the right path, there were skeptics. The fact that they succeeded demonstrates that this line of research is promising,” he said. For geneticist Mayana Zatz, also involved in the research, the American success facilitates the approval of experiments by Brazilian ethics committees. “It’s important in the sense of showing: ‘Look, it’s already being done in the US,'” he said.
Also according to Coreio Braziliense, the Brazilian study was conceived by the researcher four years ago. The initiative was supported by the Foundation for Research Support of the State of São Paulo (Fapesp) and the pharmaceutical company EMS. The genetic engineering part, according to the scientists, consists of inactivating pig genes and adding human genes, performed with the CRISPR/Cas9 technique (in the method, Cas9, an enzyme in the bacterial defense system, together with an RNA , used as a guide, cuts the stretch of interest from a DNA). With this, it was possible to create genetically modified embryos, which need to be introduced into a matrix and created in the Pig Facility.
The researcher revealed that the first offspring will be generated in a common vivarium. From then on, pre-clinical tests will be performed in isolated perfusion, a system that allows the preservation of organs from donor collection to transplantation. The so-called preservation liquid (perfusate) is usually used. The experiment will, however, use human blood as a perfusate. “If the perfusion of the genetically modified kidney with human blood, for 12 hours, does not demonstrate rejection in both organ and perfusate biopsies, it will be demonstrated that our product is suitable to be transplanted in patients”, he said.