Pig organs could save human lives amid lack of donors
The world’s largest pork producer has established a separate bioscience unit to sell pig organs for medical use. Ultimately, Smithfield Foods believes it can fill the void for humans waiting for transplants amid a lack of donors.
Routine pig-human organ transplants are years away, but recent scientific advances are breaking down barriers that frustrated prior attempts. “Our bread and butter has always been the bacon, sausage, fresh pork – very much a food-focused operation,” Courtney Stanton, vice president of Smithfield’s new bioscience unit, told Reuters in an exclusive interview.
“We want to signal to the medical device and science communities that this is an area we’re focused on – that we’re not strictly packers,” she said.
Smithfield, the $14 billion subsidiary of China’s WH Group, in its first move has joined a public-private tissue engineering consortium funded by an $80 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.
The firm is the only pork producer, joining health-care companies including Abbott Laboratories, Medtronic and United Therapeutics Corp. Transplants are used for people diagnosed with organ failure and who have no other treatment options.
Using animals could help close a critical gap to help those in need.
*Adapted from DailyMailUK Online