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National production of genetically modified pigs for organ xenotransplantation in humans


Motivated by the growing need for transplantation-available organs and the latest developments in genomic editing technologies such as the CRISPR-Cas9 system, significant progress in the efficiency and safety of xenotransplantation techniques has been achieved in the last two years. Genetically engineered pigs developed to prevent receptor hyperacute immune rejection have been successfully developed in other countries. However, the possibility of cross-infection of pathogens such as PERVs (porcine endogenous retrovirus) must be controlled before the starting of therapeutic trials in humans. This project proposes the innovative national production of genetically modified pigs where genes known as inducers of hyperacute rejection (GGTA1 / CMAH / ²4GalNT2) will be knocked out. Furthermore, the copies of the PERV pol gene will be inactivated from the porcine genomic DNA. To this end, this project associates geneticists, immunologists, surgeons and clinicians with known experience and credibility in their respective area of knowledge for the development of a national biotechnological based product. At the very end, we aim to provide the population in waiting list for transplants a viable alternative and definitive therapy, thus shortening the suffering of the patients and their families. Furthermore, besides technological aspects, the viability of xenotransplantation in Brazil will require great efforts to conciliate ethical, religious and legal aspects. On this respect, our previous experience as a pioneer of intervivos liver transplantation in the world in the 80s will be extremely valuable. (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa FAPESP Magazine about the research grant:
A place in the sun 
La tijera de los genes 
Articles published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the research grant:
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