This Thursday, a medical team from U.S announced that it had successfully carried out the second known kidney transplant from a pig to a human, the first inside the body of a brain-dead recipient, and these were the results.
The operation, carried out by doctors from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and described in a scientific article published in the peer-reviewed “American Journal of Transplantation”, takes place shortly after the successful implantation of a pig heart in a person earlier this month.
This surgery took place on September 30, 2021. It involved placing two kidneys from a genetically modified pig inside a person, Jim Parsons, 57, who wanted to be an organ donor, but his organs were deemed unsuitable. The kidneys remained functionally viable until the study ended 77 hours later.
“Today’s results are a remarkable achievement for humanity and advance xenotransplantation into the clinical arena,” said Selwyn Vickers, dean of the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, which performed the procedure.
“The transplanted kidneys filtered blood, produced urine and, most importantly, were not immediately rejected.”said the UAB in a statement.
Advances in the field of called xenotransplantation, or interspecies organ transplantation, may one day solve the chronic shortage of organ donations in humans.
The UAB team indicated that this procedure is one step closer to becoming a clinical reality. They plan to move to human trials soon and then seek regulatory approval for these types of interventions.
The first pig kidney was transplanted into a human by a team from New York University (NYU) Langone on September 25, 2021 and involved a brain-dead patient on a ventilator whose family had given permission for the experiment. .
This particular procedure involved attaching a kidney to blood vessels in the upper part of one of the patient’s legs, so that scientists could look at it and take biopsy samples.
The same team carried out another similar experiment on November 22.
Currently, pig heart valves are widely used in humans, and pig skin is grafted onto burn victims.
Pigs are the ideal donors due to the size of their organs, their rapid growth and in large litters, and that are already raised as a food source.