Porcine Materials in Medical and Research Applications
The use of swine as models in biomedical research provide many industries with materials that have a wide range of uses that benefit the common good. Many porcine materials are used to create many everyday products, but a growing use of pig coproducts comes from medical devices and biomedical research. For biomedical research purposes, pigs play an extremely important role since their physiology is similar to humans. Because of the similarities in skin, muscles, organs and other internal systems, research models derived from porcine tissue are superior to other models since the likelihood of similar effects/results in humans are high. The uses of porcine tissue can be seen in a wide range of medical and research applications.
Translational medicine (AKA translational research) takes a multidisciplinary approach to put into practice the gains made through scientific research. Translational research aims to increase the speed at which new discoveries can directly benefit patients to improve health and overall wellness. One aspect of translational research is the study of cell cultures or animal models to treat diseases. The use of swine in the laboratory plays an important role in the study of various biological systems and organs:
- Cardiovascular system
- Reproductive system
- Digestive system
- Muscles, bones and joints
The common traits of pig and human organs make the use of porcine tissue crucial to solving the problem of organ donor availability. While scientists in biomedical research are looking at the prospects of xenotransplantation and genetic modification in pigs to fill the donor gap, pig co-products play an immediate role in developing medicines to help donor recipients improve their chances of transplant success.
In treating wounds and trauma, porcine tissue is integral in helping patients heal and potentially regrow portions of their bodies. When it comes to treating injuries, doctors and researchers use an extracellular matrix (ECM) to promote the body’s natural regenerative and restorative processes. ECMs are a collection of biological material that help structure cells into new tissues. With ECMs, a wide variety of tissue types can be created/restored. Medical ECMs are primarily made from porcine tissue.
Porcine tissues and other pig co-products provide a strong support structure to the creation of many products and the development of new innovations. While most people only know the use of pigs as a food source, the secondary harvest of pigs helps to eliminate waste while benefitting a wide range of industries. The harvesting of pig co-products helps maintain a responsible and sustainable method of animal stewardship.
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