Organ Fabrication Using Pigs as An in Vivo Bioreactor

Keio J Med. 2020 Jun 25;69(2):30-36. doi: 10.2302/kjm.2019-0006-OA. Epub 2019 Aug 6.


We present the most recent research results on the creation of pigs that can accept human cells. Pigs in which grafted human cells can flourish are essential for studies of the production of human organs in the pig and for verification of the efficacy of cells and tissues of human origin for use in regenerative therapy. First, against the background of a worldwide shortage of donor organs, the need for future medical technology to produce human organs for transplantation is discussed. We then describe proof-of-concept studies in small animals used to produce human organs. An overview of the history of studies examining the induction of immune tolerance by techniques involving fertilized animal eggs and the injection of human cells into fetuses or neonatal animals is also presented. Finally, current and future prospects for producing pigs that can accept human cells and tissues for experimental purposes are discussed.

Keywords: donor shortage; in vivo bioreactor; organ fabrication; pig; stem cell.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Bioreactors / ethics
  • Blastocyst / cytology
  • Blastocyst / immunology
  • Embryo Transfer / methods*
  • Fetus
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / immunology
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / transplantation
  • Organ Transplantation / ethics
  • Organ Transplantation / methods*
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods*
  • Swine
  • Transplantation, Heterologous / methods
  • Zygote / cytology
  • Zygote / immunology
  • Zygote / transplantation*