|Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte in Murcia, Spain, in 2015|
El Mundo photo
Reporter Bradley Fikes wrote a lengthy piece in the San Diego Union-Tribune dealing with Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte and his quest to grow human organs in pigs.
"Since monkeys are biologically similar to humans, analysis of pig-monkey chimeras should yield insights that can be applied to eventual production of human organs, he said. And unlike mice, pigs are large enough to grow usable human organs."
The research is touchy for obvious reasons. But Fikes wrote that "the shortage of organs that causes nearly two dozen Americans — and many others around the world — to die each day while awaiting a transplant."
"After years of experiments, in 2015 his team reported success in coaxing a newly identified type of human stem cell to not only live in mouse embryos, but also integrate into the embryos’ structure. Those embryos weren’t allowed to develop further because of U.S. regulations."Izpisúa Belmonte has received $6.5 million in three awards from the California stem cell agency, but none of those grants are currently active.