A team of University of Alabama surgeons has demonstrated that it is feasible to genetically modify a pig’s kidneys such that they may be transplanted into human patients. Physicians transplanted the kidneys from a genetically engineered pig into the body of a brain-dead man. The technique was documented in a study released in the American Journal of Transplantation.
The pig’s kidneys began generating urine 23 minutes after the treatment and proceeded to do it for 3 days, per the physicians. The patient’s kidneys were completely extracted, and the transplanted organs showed no evidence of rejection. This is the latest in a sequence of breakthroughs in which organs from genetically modified pigs have been successfully transplanted into people. A pig kidney was grafted to the blood arteries of a brain-dead person’s upper thigh by NYU Langone Health specialists in late 2021. Experts at the University of Maryland School of Medicine recently performed an unprecedented surgery in which they transferred a pig’s heart into a living patient.
The treatment was carried out with the approval of the recipient’s family, James Parsons, who wished to become an organ donor. This sort of research is now named after him. While the receiver, in this case, was brain dead, it’s a significant advance forward towards a clinical study with living patients, which they want to begin later this year.
According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, 90,272 persons are now on the kidney transplant waitlist. Moreover, approximately 3,000 new people are placed on the organ waiting list every month.
“What a wonderful day it will be when I can walk into clinic and know I have a kidney for everyone waiting to see me,” declared Dr. Jayme Locke, the director of the Incompatible Kidney Transplant Program from the University of Alabama.