“Our goal is to change the world and change the face of modern transplantation medicine,” said Dr. Shahar Cohen, one of the technology’s inventors.
By United With Israel Staff
Researchers at Tel Aviv’s Beilinson Hospital may have a found a solution for the human body’s rejection of animal organ transplants. They developed a “hybrid” organ with both animal and human qualities.
Dr. Shahar Cohen explained to the Jerusalem Post that the primary reason for organ rejection is the internal lining of the transplanted organ’s blood vessels. The coating serves as a point of contact. What Beilinson researchers did was create an organ from a pig with human blood vessels that were coated with human placenta cells to make it more recognizable as “friendly” to the body.
The placenta, said Dr. Cohen, is the “ideal organ that connects two human beings and plays a key role in maintaining the connection between mother and fetus.”
He added that the hybrid method has been successfully tried with several organs, including the heart, lungs, liver, kidney and pancreas. Cohen hopes to begin transplanting the hybrid organs into humans in five years.
The availability of hybrid organs would dramatically cut down patients’ waiting time for organ donations.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Health’s Health Resources and Services Administration, 107,245 men women and children are on the national transplant waiting list. An average of 17 people die every day waiting for an organ to become available. HRSA added that 39,000 organ transplants were done in the U.S.
“Our goal is to change the world and change the face of modern transplantation medicine,” Cohen told the Post, “We want to eliminate the waiting list and have an unlimited supply of organs available for transplantation, and a future with less anti-rejection drugs in humans so they have less side-effects and fewer problems related to immune suppression.”
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