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Cowan, Peter J.; Ayares, David; Wolf, Eckhard; Cooper, David K. C. (2016): First update of the International Xenotransplantation Association consensus statement on conditions for undertaking clinical trials of porcine islet products in type 1 diabetesChapter 2b: genetically modified source pigs. In: Xenotransplantation, Vol. 23, No. 1: pp. 32-37
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Abstract

Genetic modification of the source pig offers the opportunity to improve the engraftment and survival of islet xenografts. The type of modification can be tailored to the transplant setting;for example, intraportal islet xenografts have been shown to benefit from the expression of anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory transgenes, whereas cytoprotective transgenes are probably more relevant for encapsulated islets. The rapid development of pig genetic engineering, particularly with the introduction of genome editing techniques such as CRISPR-Cas, has accelerated the generation of new pig lines with multiple modifications. With pre-clinical testing in progress, it is an opportune time to consider any implications of genetic modification for the conditions for undertaking clinical trials. Obviously, the stringent requirements to fulfill designated pathogen-free status that are applied to wild-type pigs will apply equally to genetically modified (GM) source pigs. In addition, it is important from a safety perspective that the genetic modifications are characterized at the molecular level (e.g., integration site, absence of off-target mutations), the phenotypic level (e.g., durability and stability of transgene expression), and the functional level (e.g., protection of islets invitro or invivo, absence of detrimental effects on insulin secretion). The assessment of clinical trial protocols using GM pig islets will need to be performed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account a range of factors including the particular genetic modification(s) and the site and method of delivery.