The first pigs containing genes responsible for Alzheimer’s disease will be born in Denmark in August. This event is a landmark achivement in the effort towards finding a cure for the disease.
Scientists from the universities of Copenhagen and Århus, Denmark are once again at the cutting edge of biotechnology. This time with cloned pigs that have been genetically modified so that they may function as animal models for the notorious Alzheimer’s disease. In the US alone, 5 million people suffer from this human brain disorder and globally the number is set at approx. 24 million (source: Alzheimer's Disease International).
"In the light of the intense focus on medical research at the University of Copenhagen and the continuous expansion of the pharmaceutical industry in Denmark, the ability to produce transgenic pig models for human diseases is a major prerequisite for future progress in this area," says Professor Ingrid Brück Bøgh from the Department of Large Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen.
"The upcoming birth of these transgenic pig models constitutes a fantastic success for us. It is also a demonstration of the excellent cross-disciplinary collaboration between the experts at both universities," she continues.
"We now have evidence that our system is very well suited for the task of making disease models for human medicine," says Professor Gábor Vajta from the Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Aarhus.
Associate Professor Arne Lund Jorgensen, Institute of Human Genetics, Aarhus University and his group have made the gene construct with the putative Alzheimer gene and inserted into the somatic cells. These somatic cells were used for the nuclear transfer experiments performed at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University.
Source: University of Copenhagen