SEOUL, Apr. 29 (Korea Bizwire) — A group of Korean scientists has successfully produced a research pig with symptoms related to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Research into dementia and Alzheimer’s is still in its early stages, and this new development could be instrumental for future progress.
The team from Seoul National University, led by professors Seon-ha Baek (neurosurgery), and Byeong-chun Lee (veterinary medicine), revealed on April 28 that they had successfully produced an ‘Alzheimer’s Dementia Transformed Pig’.
This means that the team succeeded in altering the pig’s genetic traits through somatic cell cloning so that its brain produces more amyloids, which are aggregates of proteins believed to cause Alzheimer’s when they accumulate in the brain.
The images from the pig’s brain showed less glucose than normal pigs with their cortex contracted, which is typical of patients with dementia.
Dementia research is often conducted with lab mice. However, symptoms in mice differ too significantly from those in humans, which makes it difficult to use them for clinical testing.
“Pigs have a longer life span and their disease patterns and genetic traits are similar to ours, which makes them better subjects for researching early diagnosis and treatments of dementia,” said professor Lee.
“We expect that developing a dementia model using a pig that shares identical genes, will be helpful in future treatment and early diagnosis of dementia,” he added.
The research findings will be announced at the International Alzheimer’s Conference coming up in June. The full research paper has not yet been released.
There are, however, voices that this discovery requires further verification.
A Danish science team announced similar research results back in 2009.
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)