It turns out that rodents aren't always the best animals to perform medical tests on. Scientists have begun to test stem cells on pigs, instead of rodents, discovering that using pigs as tests subjects is a better way to determine the safety of future stem cell therapies. Since 50 percent of all chemicals test positive as carcinogens in rodents regardless of their source or identity, the studies conducted on rodents are not a reliable way to see how humans will react to certain medical treatments. Instead, scientists have discovered that pigs are perfect for testing stem cells because the adult-cell-sourced stem cells do not form tumors in the pigs. Initially, the formation of tumors in rodents raised concerns about the safety of induced pluripotent stem cells. However, the new studies conducted on pigs have shown that the use of stem cells has promise. Scientists are now trying to make pigs whose cells from the pancreas would demonstrate decreased rejection in human treatments. They will insert pig insulin-producing cells into other animals, such as dogs and cats, and will see if the cells will produce insulin without being rejected.
This new discovery paves the road for many new stem cell discoveries in the future. Testing stem cells on pigs will certainly speed up stem cell research, which will potentially help humans currently suffering from diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Hopefully this new research will allow major breakthroughs in stem cell research to take place in the near future - there may be many people who are counting on it!