In February 2002 biotech company Immerge BioTherapetucis announced that
it had identified miniature swine that do not produce porcine endogenous
retrovirus (PERV). In laboratory tests, PERV has been shown capable of
infecting human cells, raising concerns over the safety of potential
xenotransplantation of pig tissues and organs to human beings.
PERV is difficult to eradicate in pigs, however, because the virus is
actually coded into the genome of pigs.
Immerge’s Dr. Clive Patience was able to identify strains of miniature
swine that did not produce of three sub-classes of PERV.
Immerge has already shown that it can knock out a gene in this species of
swine that would cause transplants to be rejected by human
Julian Greenstein, CEO and President of Immerge, said in a press
These two studies show that animals within this herd of miniature
swine have the potential to be an ideal source for xenotransplantation.
While there is still much work to be done, we are very excited that we
have moved the science of xenotransplantation forward several steps
toward clinical application.
biotherapeutics identifies miniature swine that do not transmit pig
retrovirus to humans.
Immerge BioTherapeutics, Press Release, February 25, 2002.
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