It's being called a medical breakthrough. Five cloned piglets were genetically engineered to make their organs more suitable for human transplants. The problem now with using pig organs is rejection.
Researchers at PPL Therapeutics of Scotland say these cloned piglets are the first step in overcoming the rejection of pig organs in humans. It's a Scottish company, but the pigs are raised at Virginia Tech University.
The genetically altered pigs lack a gene responsible for a sugar in pig cells that triggers the immune response in humans. The piglets were born on Christmas and are expected now to multiply to as many as 20 families, each modified to serve a specific need in humans. The goal is, in just four years, that researchers can begin harvesting hearts, kidneys, pancreases, livers, skin, and blood cells from the pig families to rescue thousands of people that are on the waiting list for transplants.