The process of donating human organs can be somewhat tricky, and you will often have to wait quite a while before getting approval that your organs can indeed be donated. Meanwhile, being on the receiving end of an organ transplant can be just as troublesome. The waiting list is even longer than the one for organ donors, and there are often shortages because of the limited number of available organs that are ready for transplant.
As a solution, scientists have tried using animals as a sort of intermediary. Although widely considered to be unethical, the practice of growing human organs in pigs and later taking them out to be transplanted into human recipients is one solution. It isn’t all that common, as it’s a highly-complicated task and the “rules” — as it were — aren’t that clear. But the Japanese government has decided to approve basic research to be conducted on the matter.
The decision to approve growing human organs in animals was made following a broad agreement over the issue by a Japanese science ministry panel. Now, it will be necessary for Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to issue relevant guidelines for the practice, and it is expected to be released sometime in the next fiscal year — it starts in April 2019.