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$4.5 million awarded for transplant study

A Mayo Clinic researcher has been awarded $4.5 million from the National Institutes of Health for his studies of xenotransplantation, or transplanting organs and tissues from one species to another.

Dr. Christopher G. A. McGregor, director of the William von Liebig Transplant Center, received a five-year grant for his project, Studies in Pig-to-Primate Cardiac Xenotransplantation.

He will use genetic engineering and immunosuppressants to overcome organ rejection, a clinic statement says. McGregor's Web site says the three Mayo Clinic campuses in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida do more transplants than any other medical center in the world.

Multiple studies will attempt to produce donor pig organs for transplants in humans to reduce deaths from organ-donor shortage. About 80,000 people wait for organs each year, but only 24,000 transplant operations occur, and 17 people die waiting each day, the clinic's statement says. For more information, go to http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/mayo/research/mcgregor_lab.

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