Seattle—Studies in the last decade have suggested that transplantation of human fetal brain tissue is effective in slowing progression of Parkinson disease (PD) in some patients. However, the limited supply of tissue—not to mention the moral objections and ethical questions raised by its use—have generated interest in finding alternative, nonhuman species to use for such transplants.
One promising source of fetal brain tissue is the pig. Among the benefits of using porcine cells are pigs' large litter size (10 to 15 fetuses) and short gestation period, said Samuel A. Ellias, MD, PhD, of Boston University Medical Center, at a conference on the Etiology, Pathogenesis, and Treatment of Parkinson Disease and Other Movement Disorders held here in October.
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