A team of surgeons at NYU Langone Health in New York have achieved a remarkable scientific breakthrough. They have transplanted a pig kidney into a human patient without triggering immediate rejection by the recipient’s immune system. This is a first-time accomplishment that holds promise for a new supply of organs for severely ill patients.
The pig used in the procedure had been genetically altered: a molecule in its tissues known to trigger almost immediate rejection was eliminated. According to Dr. Robert Montgomery, who performed the procedure, the kidney functioned normally. “It was better than I think we even expected,” he said. “It just looked like any transplant I’ve ever done from a living donor. A lot of kidneys from deceased people don’t work right away, and take days or weeks to start. This worked immediately.” To read more, visit reut.rs/3jGOj0U.
Although xenotransplantation, the process of grafting or transplanting organs or tissues between different species, has been around for a long time, there are plenty of safety concerns. Even so, the combination of gene editing and cloning, which can yield genetically altered pig organs, has gained significant momentum. The Kidney Health Initiative, a public-private partnership between the ASN and the US Food and Drug Administration, recently held a session at its annual meeting that includes a patient perspective of xenotransplantation. To learn more, visit bit.ly/xenotransplant.