Organ Farm (Part 3): Man Made Pigs

Director: LWT
Year: 2001
Country: UK
Duration: 60 mins
Rating: N/A
More information (external website)

Filed under: Xenotranplantation, Documentary

"In the final programme of the ORGAN FARM series, and with unprecedented access, 'Man Made Pigs' looks at the secret science and controversial animal experiments being carried out in order to develop genetically humanised pig organs for transplantation into people. The organs come from pigs that have been genetically engineered to incorporate human genes in their DNA. The genes enable the animals to produce proteins that fool the human immune system and prevent the pig organs being instantly rejected. Currently the supply of human donor organs cannot meet the need and researchers predict that animal organ transplants could be just two years away from becoming a reality. If it works, it could offer hope to the 150,000 people world-wide currently waiting for a human donor heart, kidney or liver. In a secret research farm in America, new ways to defeat hyper-acute rejection are being tried out. Scientists are experimenting with knocking out parts of the pig DNA that hamper cross-species transplants. There is the potential to make pig organs invisible to the body's rejection system. Mike Bishop, President of Infigen says: "This is a monumental achievement because we're now on the threshold of being able to produce pigs and clinically test their organs in human patients in one or two years." The management of thousands of cell lines has replaced animal husbandry. Once created these animals could in theory be copied again and again using the latest techniques of cloning. ORGAN FARM has the world exclusive pictures of two cloned transgenic piglets carrying a human gene and born in America. The science is now in place to create a living production line of transplant organs to use as spare parts for humans. The 'holy grail' of cross-species transplantation has now been achieved. "

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This Biomedical Ethics Film Library is being presented in partnership with European Medical Students' Association (EMSA)