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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376099

Research Project: Evaluation of Swine Immunity and Development of Novel Immune and Genomic Intervention Strategies to Prevent and/or Treat Respiratory Diseases of Swine

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Importance of the pig as a human biomedical model: 2020 Update

item Lunney, Joan
item Van Goor, Angelica
item Walker, Kristen
item Hailstock, Taylor
item Franklin, Jasmine
item DAI, CHAOHUI - Non ARS Employee

Submitted to: Science Translational Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/22/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: There has not been an authoritative, thorough review of the importance of the pig as a human biomedical model for several years. Our team has worked to present a comprehensive review of the many areas for which the pig is an important biomedical model for humans. We summarize and update the advantages, recent applications, and substantial potential for the use of pigs as human biomedical models. Applications include heart and reproductive studies, growth and development, disease mechanisms and drug testing, vaccine design, and xenotransplantation options. The enormous recent progress in genetic engineering of the pig, and humanization options, has further enriched the variety of pig models in many areas. There are limitations; pigs require more space, feed, and specific management protocols, and are more expensive than small animal models. Despite these limitations, we predict that the pig model will be embraced more frequently as the preferred model for human disease and translational medicine research. Its use will be enhanced by the continued development of basic science and applied technologies.

Technical Abstract: Pigs have substantial, but not yet fully realized, potential as biomedical models for humans with applications ranging from basic developmental processes, gene edited congenital disease models and xenotransplant organ donors. Pigs inform human pathogen response mechanisms, drug and vaccine design. Pigs' similarity to humans in anatomical size and structure, physiology, immunology, and genome enhance their potential as models for humans. As such, it is imperative that research is relevant and reproducible in animal models that most closely resemble humans. This review summarizes the current status of pigs as an investigative model for humans and highlights their significant future potential.