Pig blood cell development could curb use of animal tissue in research

Blood cells will be used to test vaccines and treatments for highly transmissible viral diseases such as African swine fever and PRRS.


Source: The Roslin Institute

via National Hog Farmer - Sep 08, 2020


Researchers are developing a method of generating pig blood cells in the lab, to enable research into important livestock diseases without using large numbers of animals. A two-year study, supported by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research, will seek to better understand methods for generating white blood cells macrophages from pig stem cells in the lab.


These blood cells, which are naturally targeted by infectious viruses, will be used to test vaccines and treatments for highly transmissible viral diseases. These include the highly contagious and typically fatal African swine fever virus, and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, which costs the global pig industry $1 billion each year.


Development insights


Scientists at the Roslin Institute, together with collaborators in the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Regenerative Medicine and the APHA, will seek to further fundamental understanding of how specific cells are derived efficiently from stem cells. The team will examine how white blood cells develop from pig stem cells, to pinpoint key stages as they become blood cells.


They hope to develop a method of arresting cell development, and controlling the final stage of differentiation into white blood cells a process known as conditional immortalization. Such a technology could potentially provide a large-scale, continuous supply of blood cells for the testing and development of therapies, and reduce the need for tissue obtained from animals.