Man's Best Friend May be the Pig

by 5m Editor
8 April 2011, at 9:11am

DENMARK - Thanks to pigs, Danish scientists are well on their way to developing treatment and prevention of common diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and psoriasis.

Scientists from Aarhus University use pigs as models. The goal is to improve treatment and prevention of human diseases. [Photo: LandTV]

The first breakthrough was in 2007 when seven identical piglets were born with a built-in gene for a hereditary and incurable form of Alzheimer’s disease.

Three of the seven pigs are still alive and kicking at Research Centre Foulum where the scientists continuously monitor the pigs’ behaviour to check for signs of the disease. This is done using video surveillance as well as testing the pigs’ sense of smell and their memories.

The brains from the four pigs that were sacrificed have been examined and the scientists can thus see the year-by-year changes in the brain believed to be related to the development of Alzheimer’s.

The Danish television network LandTV paid the pigs at Research Centre Foulum a visit and met, among others, a pig that lights up green under a certain type of light. The green colour indicates how the scientists can insert genes in the best way.