The Superpig was conceived to bridge the gap of knowledge between the mammalian model universally recognized (mouse) and human. In particular, the program aims to develop a genetic line of pigs, which can be used  as donors of tissue and organs for transplantation and as specific models for genetic and/or degenerative diseases  to be used to investigate  the mechanisms underlying these diseases and the development of new therapies.

In addition to the basic scientific knowledge that will be generated, Superpig serves as a Scientific and Technologic Platform, for the development of the know-how and of the intellectual property, for training and employment of young researchers. The Platform will be also made available to other research institutions and  to Italian and international interested companies. The Platform represents already a landmark at the European level.

The platform will create the conditions in order to generate, easily and at low costs, animal models, genetically modified or not, of human diseases - eg. Cystic fibrosis (Rogers, Stoltz et al. 2008) - or for animal husbandry applications introducing resistance to disease - viral diseases such as PRRS Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome (Li, Huang et al. 2007) - or to improve the characteristics and productions - phytase to reduce phosphorus in wastewater farming and high content of omega-3 in meat (Lai, Kang et al. 2006).

The long-term vision is to become a national (and European) center of reference for the production of pigs as models, for the scientific community, following the example of NSRRC (National Swine Resource and Research Center) of the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Superpig program is developing the following areas, each one with a specific Sub-Objective:

Identification of the best strategies for genetic modification of the pig genome. Cells cultured in vitro will be used for generating and cloning animals carrying the desired mutation;

This subproject will study the renal tubular and hemodynamic response to human hormones that regulates the function of glomerular filtration, urine volumes and urinary excretion of electrolytes in the engineered pigs. It will also study the   characterization of the immunological response of human lymphocytes to antigens of engineered pigs and their regulation in tolerogenic sense.

Development of induced pluripotent cells (iPS - induced pluripotent Stem Cells) for applications of regenerative medicine in the cardiovascular area. Development and evaluation of a swine model for cardiac regeneration through the use of iPS cells undergoing specific differentiation. Development of cells generation systems of the hematopoietic cells system "iPS-based", in particular towards the differentation line of the erythroid type.

Assessment of potential risks and control of infectious diseases related to spread and transmission of viral diseases among animals and between humans and animals (zoonoses).