Animal Biotech Industries, Inc

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How Porcine Islet Cells Could Help Treat Diabetes

porcine islet cells

For decades, porcine tissue has been a valuable asset for biomedical research, given that pigs share many anatomical and physiological similarities with humans. One crucial research area that shows promise is the treatment of diabetes. In 2008, a Scientific American report detailed the efforts of MicroIslet Inc., a California-based biotech firm, to develop a diabetes therapy that utilizes cross-species cell transplantation utilizing porcine islet cells.

For this therapy, developed at Duke University, researchers transplanted insulin-producing porcine islet cells into patients with Type 1 diabetes. MicroIslet’s cell encapsulation method uses porcine cells because pig tissue offers an unlimited supply of pancreas cells, unlike human donor pancreatic islets. The porcine cells can produce insulin without the immune system attacking and destroying them.

According to Keith Hoffman, a MicroIslet board member, this type of therapy can utilize human-to-human islet cell transplants. However, it is not a commercially viable solution since there is limited access to human pancreatic tissue. This limited supply of islet cells means millions of patients have no access to crucial transplants that can help control their diabetes.

Cross-Species Transplantation Research

Encapsulated cross-species transplantation promises to be a feasible solution for millions of diabetics. The MicroIslet & Duke University project is a good example of how researchers can use porcine tissue models to make important biomedical breakthroughs. In many other ways, pig tissue has proven to be an indispensable asset in the development of critical therapeutics.

The most notable include burn healing and liver transplantation. Wound healing research utilizes porcine epithelium, and consequently, several studies have produced promising results. A 2016 Brazilian study used a porcine tissue model to compare the efficacy of reference products used to treat dermal burns.

The researchers investigated the effects of a bio-membrane compared to a topical ointment and interactive dressing. The study offered valuable insight into how the bio-membrane promoted better healing of burn wounds, collagen deposition, and scar repair compared to the other treatments. Porcine tissue has also proven to be useful in helping liver transplant patients.

Liver transplants, the primary treatment for many fatal liver diseases, face various challenges, including hernias. A team of Austrian researchers discovered that porcine biological patches were effective in repairing hernias following liver transplants. The porcine dermal matrix reduced wound infections and hernia recurrence compared to other synthetic meshes.


Overall, pig tissues have the potential to revolutionize biomedical research. The medical discoveries above and many others would not be possible without high-quality porcine tissues. Animal biotech companies have an important role to play in aiding clinical research seeking to improve human health.

As one of the leading firms with twenty years of experience in harvesting, storage, and delivery, Animal Biotech Industries is dedicated to supplying high-quality post-mortem tissue for medical research purposes. Our offerings include porcine organs, pig tissues, porcine blood, glands, and secretions, which are ethically sourced by a team of expert physiologists and anatomists.

Our tissue harvesting experts also advise biomedical researchers, Universities, and government organizations on the proper selection of porcine tissues based on research requirements. Contact us today and learn how we can help with your next research project.