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Univ. of Pittsburgh Medical Center leads group buying PPL'S cloning, stem cell business

th hyperacute rejection, thus removing a major immune barrier between pig and human and making transplants from animals to humans more feasible.

In January 2002, PPL announced the birth of pigs lacking one copy of this gene for the enzyme alpha1, 3 galactosyl transferase (alpha-gal), which adds a sugar to the surface of cells that the human immune system immediately recognizes as being foreign. Then in August of that year, PPL announced the birth of a litter of double-knockout pigs, each lacking both copies of the gene responsible for making the alpha-gal enzyme.

In recent studies performed by the PPL and Pittsburgh teams and reported in Science, cells taken from one of these double-knockout pigs did not elicit the usual hyperacute rejection response when transplanted into mice. These results and a description of the double-knockout pigs were published on the journal's Web site Dec. 19, 2002.

"It was fortuitous in many ways that we were able to establish a collaboration with PPL when we did. Indeed, the molecular biology work of Dr. Koike and others at the University of Pittsburgh provided PPL with an important piece to the puzzle that allowed their accomplishments with gene deletion to occur. In my opinion, it seems even more fortuitous that these teams can continue to work together, as their prior work will form the basis for moving forward into the future, and our team's recent discoveries related to the mechanisms of human engraftment and tolerance enhances an already impressive store of intellectual talent," noted John J. Fung, M.D., Ph.D., the Thomas E. Starzl Professor of Transplantation Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and director of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute.

According to Regenecor, there are currently five double-knockout pigs from two litters, three from a litter born in July 2002 and two that were born in September. Additionally, pregnancies from breeding of several singl
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Contact: Lisa Rossi
412-647-3555
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
9-Apr-2003


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