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AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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The Rat Race Is Over: New Livestock Model for Stroke Could Speed Discovery

It is well-known in the medical field that the pig brain shares certain physiological and anatomical similarities with the human brain. So similar are the two that researchers at the University of Georgia’s Regenerative Bioscience Center have developed the first U.S. pig model for stroke treatments, which will provide essential preclinical data and speed the drug discovery process.

Often referred to by research teams as “the animals most like people,” pig-derived medical products have a long history of use in humans and have improved the lives of countless patients. Pig heart valves are used to replace damaged or diseased human valves, diabetics may use insulin taken from pigs, and the blood-thinning drug heparin was first derived from a pig.

“Compared to mice, our large animal stroke model is a more rigorous test of potential therapeutics with findings that are likely more clinically relevant,” said Franklin West, an associate professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and senior author of the paper describing the model.

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