When Pigs Fly and Save Lives

Lou Basenese

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Against the market backdrop of runaway inflation, war in Ukraine, and all-but-certain recession, you might think stocks won’t turn around until pigs fly.

Well, I can promise you that pigs won’t ever fly…

But once they start saving lives, one stock in particular promises to soar.

Let me explain why…

Overlooked Innovation

When the drumbeat of macroeconomic news is nothing but negative, it’s easy to overlook major innovations. But I assure you, no matter what’s going on in the world, the steady pace of progress and innovation marches on.

Case in point: After 20 years of dogged persistence, major milestones in the world of xenotransplantation have finally been reached.

Xenotransplantation involves animal-to-human organ transplants.

And now we’re about to reach another milestone in this field, making now an ideal time to position our portfolios.

Let me explain…

100,000 People Are Waiting for an Organ Transplant

In case you didn’t know, thousands of people die each year waiting for an organ transplant. At any given time, over 100,000 people are on the national waiting list.

Truth is, the need will always outstrip the donor supply, which is, why decades ago, scientists began exploring the possibility of transplanting organs from pigs into humans, because there’s essentially an endless supply.

As you can imagine, the early days were plagued by failure, as the human body is acutely aware of foreign tissue, especially animal tissue. And the immune system would instantly attack the pig transplant.

Heck, even when we transplant human organs, the patient needs to start a lifetime of immunosuppression drugs.

But fast-forward to today — and scientists have discovered ways to genetically modify pigs so their organs are more human-like, thereby increasing the likelihood of transplantation and acceptance.

And guess what? It’s working!

Consider…

  • In January, a dying man became the world’s first recipient of a genetically modified pig heart at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Post-surgery, doctors reported normal organ function, and the man lived for an additional two months.
  • During the same month, researchers at the University of Alabama Birmingham proved in a preclinical study that all the organs of the modified pigs could “transcend the most proximate immunological barriers to xenotransplantation.”

We’re talking about a major breakthrough — one where researchers may have unlocked an unlimited supply of transplantable organs.

Or as Martine A. Rothblatt, Ph.D, said, “It is enormously gratifying to see these xenotransplantation breakthroughs achieved after working on this for over twenty years.”

Indeed! And it keeps getting better…

Setbacks as a Springboard

The first pig-heart recipient died because he contracted a pig virus from the transplanted organ.

If researchers had known about the possibility and pre-screened for it, it’s likely the man would still be alive today. That is, if the screening methods had existed to complete such a task.

Fast-forward a few months, and now the new screening methods do exist. And researchers at NYU Langone Health are already putting them to use.

In the last month, they pre-screened two pig hearts for worrisome viruses before implanting them into deceased patients and restoring normal heart function via a life support machine.

As the AP reports, “Then came three days of more intense testing than living patients could tolerate — including frequent biopsies of the organ — before doctors disconnected life support.”

This “testing with the dead” promises to help researchers figure out the proper ways to successfully transplant pig organs into humans without having to jeopardize the living.

Or as David Klassen of the United Network for Organ Sharing said, “They serve as an important sort of stepping stone.”

It turns out the next step is getting FDA approval for a small number of Americans to volunteer for a clinical study to transplant either pig hearts or kidneys. And a meeting is being held next month to discuss those study requirements.

Add it all up — and before the end of the year, a handful of Americans could have life restored to normal thanks to a few genetically modified pigs.

And the company behind these truly miraculous breakthroughs is deservingly our Trend Trader Pro “Trade of the Week.”

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Ahead of the tape,
Lou Basenese
Lou Basenese

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