Home LATEST NEWS New transplant of a pig kidney into a human

New transplant of a pig kidney into a human


The announcement comes shortly after the first transplant of a porcine heart in a patient, this time conscious.

These breakthroughs in the field of animal organ transplants into humans, also called xenografts, point to a possible solution to the chronic shortage of organ donations.

Today’s results are a remarkable achievement for humanity and bring xenografts into the clinical realm, said Selwyn Vickers, dean of the Heersink School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where the operation took place.

A pig kidney had already been transplanted into a brain-dead human by a team from New York University, twice, on September 25 and November 22, 2021, but the grafts had been placed outside of the body, connected to a leg, in order to be able to observe them and take samples.

The operation unveiled on Thursday took place on September 30, 2021. Two kidneys from a genetically modified pig were placed in the body of a 57-year-old man whose organs could not be donated to another person, although he have made a wish.

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The transplanted kidneys filtered blood, produced urine and, importantly, were not immediately rejected, the university said in a statement.

Both organs remained viable until the experiment was stopped 77 hours later and the results were published in theAmerican Journal of Transplantation.

Since the kidneys were completely connected inside the body, the team ensures that this surgical operation is close to clinical reality. They plan to carry out trials on human patients soon and then seek the green light from the regulatory authorities.

The pig whose kidneys were used had undergone 10 major genetic modifications to make its organs compatible with a human.

According to US authorities, nearly 107,000 people are waiting for organ donation in the United States, 90,000 of whom need a kidney. Every day, on average, 17 Americans die for lack of a transplant.

Medical research first turned to primates: the heart of a baboon, for example, was transplanted into an infant in 1984, but it only survived 20 days.

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Nowadays, pig heart valves are widely used in humans, as well as pig skin in burn victims.

Pigs make perfect donors because of their organ size, rapid growth and large offspring, and because they are already raised as a food source.

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