Japan: Animals may be used to grow human organs

The government’s Council for Science and Technology Policy is likely to permit a study on growing human organs in animals by modifying their embryos, sources have said.

Due to advances in regenerative medicine and taking into consideration the possibility of growing a whole human organs, the council believes such a study to be indispensable for the government. The council plans to make a final decision on the matter in July, according to the sources.

The study aims to grow human organs for transplants. The process would utilize animal embryos shortly after they have been fertilized.

To grow human organs, cells would be injected into an animal embryo that has been genetically modified to ensure it does not have certain organs. This creates an “animal-human chimeric embryo,” which is believed would result in the birth of an animal with a human organ. The animal’s genes are not involved in the resulting organ’s cells.

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