Monday, September 29, 2008

Pigs Helping Kids

Researchers Develop Pig Model for Cystic Fibrosis
Now they can track disease progression as it happens, something not possible in humans
Posted September 26, 2008

FRIDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they have developed a model for cystic fibrosis (CF) in piglets that may help improve understanding of the disease in human infants and help in the discovery of new treatments.

The finding, by researchers at the University of Iowa and the University of Missouri, was published in the Sept. 26 issue of Science.

Cystic fibrosis, a common hereditary disease, affects multiple organ systems, including the intestines, pancreas and lungs. A primary cause of death and disability in these patients is lung disease. Researchers have previously studied mice with CF-causing mutations to study the disease, but the mice do not develop many of the typical symptoms that affect humans.

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My wife and I have been blessed with three healthy children, but not every parent has received those same blessings. Using pigs to better understand a disease like cystic fibrosis will hopefully lead to a cure. There will, no doubt, be people upset about using pigs for this type of research, but I would dare them to look into the eyes of a parent with a sick child and try to do their complaining there.

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