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Commentary: From pigs that glow to life-saving swine: how decades of research led to a heart transplant

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Commentary: From pigs that glow to life-saving swine: how decades of research led to a heart transplant

It was only three months ago that surgeons successfully attached a kidney from a genetically altered pig to a human recipient. Since then, new successes continue to pile on. In December, the kidney procedure was successfully repeated. Then, earlier this month, we celebrated another huge leap forward in such xenotransplantation: Surgeons successfully transplanted a pig heart into a human patient who lives in the Baltimore area. For this accomplishment, congratulations are in order.

The success of these procedures hinged on the incredible talent of surgeons and medical professionals, and it also required decades of behind-the-scenes research to build the foundations of genetic engineering in pigs. It was a continuum of work that I was part of at a lab in Missouri beginning over two decades ago and is now offering hope to the more than 100,000 people waiting for organ transplants.

But there was also a time when that initial research was derided as, pardon the pun, pork barrel spending.

In 2001, I and a team of collaborators at the University of Missouri, and Robert Hawley at Immerge Biotherapeutics in Boston, first patented the technology to create so-called “knockout pigs.” In simple terms, our research showed how to remove — or knock out — a molecule on the surface of a pig’s cell. These “knockouts” affect the genes that control for a variety of traits. To develop the technology’s potential, we began with projects that to some may have seemed silly. Through our genetic engineering research, we showed it’s possible to develop bioluminescence in pigs, basically making them emit a low level of light.

This development was a vital proof of concept (and those “green” pigs remain essential to scientists by providing cells that can be easily tracked, for example, to study the use of stem cells to repair organ damage). We showed that pigs could be produced from genetically engineered cells, like the process used to clone Dolly the sheep.

Next came a steady drumbeat of progress that benefited both human and animal health. For example, we’ve been able to disrupt the gene that makes pigs vulnerable to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus. These pigs are now resistant to a deadly virus that every year kills thousands of animals and costs pork producers in North America and Europe an estimated $6 million each day.

Taken collectively, all of these milestones were part of the slow process that helped us find how knockout pigs and gene editing could help people.

By developing these and other enabling technologies, we were able to create pigs that help us study a range of ailments, including cystic fibrosis, retinitis pigmentosa and cancer. Fast-forward to 2022; Revivicor was able to use knockout pig technology licensed from the University of Missouri (one of the 10 genetic modifications included by Revivicor) to develop a heart and kidney that resist hyperacute rejection. This is critical because hyperacute rejection occurs when the body’s defenses attack a foreign organ. It ensues within minutes without this specific knockout.

It’s clear we are now taking the first steps into a new era of human health and well-being. I’ve mentioned that there are more than 100,000 people on transplant lists, a vast majority of them awaiting a kidney. Those patients have the option to go on dialysis while they wait. For those who need a heart, options are more limited. Basically, there are two ways off any transplant list: You either receive an organ or you die. It’s been reported that the patient in Baltimore was facing just this choice, and receiving a pig heart was the final (and best) option.

This is the unique hope xenotransplantation provides, built on decades of foundational discoveries and the enabling technologies that make genetic engineering in pigs possible. There is a direct line from glowing pigs to saving lives –­­ it just takes time for scientists to discover what is possible.

Randall Prather is a Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Animal Sciences at the University of Missouri and director of the National Swine Resource and Research Center. He wrote this column for the Baltimore Sun.

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UCF offers Daytona Beach Mainland 2024 safety Zay Mincey

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UCF offers Daytona Beach Mainland 2024 safety Zay Mincey

The last few players rom Daytona Beach Mainland High to play for UCF turned out to be quite productive. Knights coaches are hoping 2024 safety Zavier “Zay” Mincey is next.

Mincey was offered a scholarship by UCF on Tuesday, one of numerous offers the big defensive back — 6-foot-3, 190 pounds — has picked up recently. Mincey now has 13 offers from schools including Auburn, Notre Dame, Ole Miss and Texas A&M, so the Knights have their work cut out for them to win him over,

Mincey, a multi-sport standout, competed at the Florida Track and Field Championships in Gainesville this past week. He didn’t have his best performances, but finished 10th in the long jump (21 feet, 4¾ inches) and 11th in the high jump (5 feet, 11½ inches).

Last season for Mainland, Mincey averaged 3.2 tackles per game and had 1 tackle for loss. He also had 2 interceptions and 6 pass deflections.

The recent history of success for Mainland players at UCF was highlighted by the self-proclaimed fastest man in college football Adrian Killins, who finished his UCF career as the fifth-best rusher in UCF history with 2,459 career rushing yards and 25 touchdowns. Killins was last in the NFL as a roster player with the Denver Broncos. He is a free agent.

Offensive tackle Marcus Tatum also had a solid stay at UCF after transferring from Tennessee. Tatum earned all-AAC honors in each of his final two seasons as a Knight. Tatum recently signed a free-agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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The Staircase Episode 5: May 19 Release, Time And Plot Speculations

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The Staircase Episode 5: May 19 Release, Time And Plot Speculations

An American crime drama mini-series, The Staircase, will release its 5th episode on May 19th. The episode titled “The Beating Heart” would air on HBO Max. The true-crime drama is created by Antonio Campos and stars Colin Firth and Toni Collette as the main protagonist. The drama is based on the famous Michel Peterson trial.

Produced by Annapurna Television, What’s up Films, and Emi pop, the mini-series is distributed by Warner Bros Discovery Global Streaming & Interactive Entertainment. Michael Stuhlbarg, Sophie Turner, Dane DeHaan, Olivia DdeJonge, Patrick Schwarzeneggar, and Rosemarie DeWitt assist Firth and Collette in their roles play important characters in the drama.

Here’s all you need to know before watching the episode.

Michael Peterson Trial

Based on a true crime story and the docuseries by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade with the same name; the Staircase premiered on HBO Max on May 5th; and received great, positive reception for the stellar cast performances (especially by Firth).

It is based on the Michael Peterson trial, which was a pretty deal as it remains one of the longest trials in the history of North Carolina. In 2001, Peterson’s wife, Kathleen, was reported by him to be found unconscious; at the bottom of the stairs in their home in Durham, North Carolina.

She was later declared dead, and her autopsy result showed that she died of several injuries that hint at homicide.

Peterson was bisexual; and that upon finding his sexuality and his adultery with another male, Kathleen had confronted him. And in a bid of rage, he had killed her. The American novelist was arrested on the charge of murdering his wife in 2001.

In 2003, he was guilty and was sentenced to life in prison, getting released in 2011.

1652901008 32 The Staircase Episode 5 May 19 Release Time And Plot

The Staircase Episode 5: What To Expect? Plot Speculation 

The eight-episode mini series following the trial and appeal period of Michael Peterson will be releasing its 5th episode coming May 19th.

The last episode saw the trial reaching its final verdict; with Elizabeth Ratliff’s autopsy result coming to the forefront, giving the whole case a new perspective. Ratliff have injuries similar to Kathleen; and it is proven that Peterson is the last person to be with her before she was found dead the next morning.

It leads to further doubts in Martha and Margaret, Elizabeth’s daughters and Michael’s adoptive daughters, who have started to turn against him.

The next episode (episode 5) will have the viewers see the consequences of the verdict that Peterson; and his family would be dealing with and the full aftermath of the jury’s decision.

On the other hand, the last episode also left viewers at a stump when it revealed during the 2017 documentary interview that Sophie Brunet has been with Peterson for the past 12 years.

When And Where To Watch Episode 5? 

Episode 5 of The Staircase will release and available to stream on HBO max on May 19th, Thursday at 3 AM ET.

The post The Staircase Episode 5: May 19 Release, Time And Plot Speculations appeared first on Gizmo Story.

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2 killed in Anoka crash that following police pursuit

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2 killed in Anoka crash that following police pursuit

ANOKA, Minn. (AP) — Two men died after fleeing from an attempted traffic stop and later crashing into a pickup truck in Anoka County, sheriff’s officials said.

Police in Coon Rapids tried to make the traffic stop shortly before midnight Tuesday. The driver took off and police pursued the car, but broke off the chase once the vehicle crossed into Anoka.

Officials said the car and pickup collided about a mile away. The force of the crash took down at least three light poles, according to witnesses.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. His passenger died at a nearby hospital. The driver of the pickup was treated for minor injuries. The victims have not been identified.

The crash remains under investigation by the Anoka Police Department, Coon Rapids Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol, Anoka County Sheriff’s Office and the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office.

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