Experimental pigs: fly up

Experimental pigs: fly up

Image source @ Vision China

Pandora's Box is being opened. God can't stop Musk's madness. Not long after he swallowed the tweet, he announced that his invested company Neuralink plans to make it possible for humans to communicate directly through their brains without using language through brain-computer interface technology within five years.

Neuralink implanted the chip into a pig's brain, transmitted it wirelessly to a computer, and read the brain activity of the experimental pig live in front of a large wave of media at the launch site that day, causing a sensation.

Experimental pigs: fly up

Some say this is a metaphor for the potential of the research to address brain injury and other diseases, but also the potential for the brain to be "immortalized," as in the Matrix scenario of brain-machine interaction.

It was breathtaking.

Of course, in this experiment, the experimental pig is the indispensable protagonist.

Musk's experiments to explore and modify the brain have advanced step by step from rats, to monkeys, and then to pigs.

Why was the pig chosen for the human brain experiment? (seems to be offended).

A media report said, "The reason for choosing pigs for the experiment, Musk explained that the dura mater and skull structure of pigs are similar to humans and can be trained to walk on a treadmill or conduct other experiments."

It turns out that not only the price of pork can be used to measure inflation, the experimental pig has such an important value in the field of life science research.

Second Brother's brain is not what it used to be

"Are you pig-headed?"

This sentence listened to the upper head, the second brother's reputation association, but also force evidence of its intelligence is worrying.

But that impression ends here.

Musk took pig brains for human brain-machine experiments, has been re-righted for pig brains.

"The former me you love to ignore, the future me you can't afford to climb high. "If the second brother can speak, it may it will come on such a sentence.

This was reported early on by, which said, "Compared to rodents, the human brain is much closer in size, structure and composition to the pig brain. The brain cells of humans, pigs and rodents are composed of white matter and gray matter, but the composition is very different: both human and pig brains have about 60% white matter, while rodent brains have about 10% white matter ...... The pig brain may also be more like the human brain in its pathophysiological response to injury. "

Oncology, immunology, cardiovascular, diabetes, genetic and nutritional diseases, cardiovascular, atherosclerosis ...... From the immune system to the vascular system, the experimental pig is the best animal model.

Laboratory animal market soaring, drug companies rat race in full swing. What about the market for laboratory pigs?

Experimental pigs are minipig, skin, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract and urinary system in morphology and physiological function and more similar to the human body, used for organ research and experiments, worth millions, called "trench pigs" is not too much.

The breeding of small pigs for experimental use in China is forty years behind that of Europe and America. The United States first bred Minnesota miniature pigs at the end of 1940s, and then bred the even smaller Mill it miniature pigs in 1980s. Subsequently, Germany, Japan, the former Soviet Union and other countries have bred more than 10 small pig breeds and strains such as Yucatan, Göttingen and Siberian. China only started in the 80's, and now a few strains have been initially bred. Small pigs are rich in breeding sources but the highly inbred way leads to low production performance and high resistance to development. Now, according to the analysis of professional market research, small experimental pig lines in China need to increase investment and use advanced technology such as gene editing and animal cloning to accelerate the process of small pigs directed breeding.

Ltd., Taizhou Taihe Biotechnology Co., Ltd., Beijing Galland Biotechnology Co., Ltd. and some other institutions also have a certain scale of production, such as the Institute of Animal Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Beijing Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Department of Experimental Animal Science of Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, etc.

The main domestic laboratory animal resource centers are: Institute of Medical Laboratory Animals, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, National Rodent Laboratory Animal Seed Center, Shanghai Branch, and Institute of Model Animals, Nanjing University.

In March this year, the "gene-edited pigs" base was officially completed in Sichuan, providing sufficient organ donors for China's clinical "xenotransplantation" trials, which are bred in experimental pigs.

There is no latest data on how many companies in the country are doing business with experimental pigs, but from the overall trend of the laboratory animal market, can not afford to buy mice, can not buy monkeys, the lack of rodent experimental models, experimental pigs definitely have something to see.

The market of "mouse fungus" is almost divided among Pharmachem, Jackson Laboratories, Nanmo Biologicals and Biosetu, and Zhaoyang New Drug leads the field of non-human primates.

Nearby players

Gyeonggi-do", an hour away from Seoul, is a coastal city in Korea that lives off the sea. It is located across the sea from the Shandong Peninsula and has developed modern agriculture. In addition to agriculture, the whole city is also rich in business, with more than seven hundred small and large enterprises, automobiles, chemicals, food, medicine, electronics ...... doing everything.

One of them is called APURES, which is a research and development company for experimental minipigs. It provides validation solutions for CRO market.

Founded in 2001, this company is fully accredited by AAALAC International and has experience in the development of mini pigs.

"If 1 mini-pig is used for animal experiments, it can replace 2,000 experimental rats. " said Sun-Deok Choi, a representative of APURES, in an interview with Forbes.

In 2015, Appleseed succeeded in having its own mini-pigs listed in the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Livestock Biodiversity Information System (DAD-IS) under the names "micro-pigs" T and M.

"It is difficult to find companies in the world that have successfully raised piglets and bred the infrastructure in large numbers to be able to extract cells and develop technology for human treatment." Choi Sun-duk said. Currently, more than 1,000 sterile minipigs can be raised each year at the Appleseed Minipig Center in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.

In the field of gene editing technology, we have signed a technology use contract with the Boulder Institute in the U.S., and have provided technology use contracts domestically to university hospitals and research institutes such as Samsung Medical Center, Kyung Hee University Hospital, Seoul Asan Hospital, and Koryo University Hospital. The Korea Institute of Life Science and Technology, the National Institute of Animal Husbandry, and Gene Biology, which mainly research heterozygous growth machines and transgenic models, are also major customers of Apures.

Its future direction is to focus on making the business more advanced, and Korea is very conscious in applying for patents, as represented by the registration of APURES' Korean pigs as "only children" by FAO. It is APURES' desire and ambition that this IP-registered mini-pig will become a valuable research resource for the Korean and global biopharmaceutical industry.


Speaking of which, it's time for the Second Brother to fight for his country. The market is hot for pharmaceutical innovation, forcing domestic experimental animal models to rapidly become self-reliant. In terms of animal clinical experiments, as the price of mice and monkeys skyrocketed and demand outstripped supply, the popularity of the second brother is also soaring. Pigs for experimental use, is about to take off. (This article was first published in Titanium Media App)