The Jeju National University said Tuesday it has patented the technology to produce pigs with symptoms of dementia.
Professor Park Se-pil박세필 of the Jeju University Stem Cell Research Center제주대 줄기세포연구센터 said that the technology to produce cloned pigs called "JNUPIG" with three genes factors (APP, Tau, PSI) that cause Alzheimer's disease is different from other technology. The center also has obtained the national patent registration (No. 10-1791296) winning the recognition of its progress.
|Certificate of patent registration for JNUPIG|
The technology for producing demented pigs has been transferred to Mirae Cell Bio and has also been filed with the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), including the United States.
It is estimated that the number of patients with Alzheimer's disease will increase more rapidly worldwide, reaching 56.55 million by 2030 and tripling to 209 million by 2050. Currently, one dementia patient is appearing every four seconds around the world.
In Korea, 690,000 people were recorded to have Alzheimer's disease as of last year-end, and 1,230,000 people are estimated to develop dementia in 2030. The cost on patients and their families, as well as societies, is also high, estimated at 1 trillion won ($894 million).
Researchers around the world have used rodents to research the degenerative illness. But studies based on rodents had credibility issues because they have very different biological properties compared to humans.
For this reason, pigs, which have an organ structure and physiological properties similar to those of humans, have been considered as a viable replacement for rodents.
JNUPIG is the world's first cloned pig of Jeju Island's native black pigs to yield three genes that cause Alzheimer's disease.
JNUPIG has developed a multiplex vector system (pTet-CMV-hPDGFb pro-APPsw) that attaches the major genes Tau, APP (Amyloid precursor protein) and PS1 (presenilin). It is then replaced by another pig that acts as a surrogate mother in exchange for the donor egg nucleus.
In 2009, researchers in Denmark sponsored by Janssen, a multinational drug maker, made a demented pig, but it had only one genetic factor that caused Alzheimer's disease.
The first JNUPIG was born on March 30, 2016, and died on May 24, 2017, suffering from nephritis and genital irritation. Professor Park confirmed the pig showed symptoms that are ethologically similar to those of human patients with Alzheimer's disease.
"The model of pigs with Alzheimer's disease, in which three human dementia-inducing genes are over-expressed at the same time, is not produced globally, and it is vital to identify the cause of dementia and develop new drugs,” Professor Park said. "The industrial value of this technology is estimated at 2.4 trillion won over nine years from 2024.”
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