Surgeons at NYU’s Langone Health have successfully transplanted a pig kidney into a human without triggering an immediate rejection of the foreign organ by the recipient’s immune system.
The donor pig had genes that were altered so that it’s tissue no longer had a carbohydrate molecule known to trigger immediate rejection.
The donor pig was genetically altered by United Therapeutics Corp. The genetically altered pigs, referred to as GalSafe Pigs, are approved for use by the FDA for food and therapeutic purposes.
The recipient was a brain-dead patient with kidney dysfunction. The experimental procedure was done with the consent of the patient’s family before the patient was removed from life support.
The kidney was attached to the recipient for three days and “looked pretty normal” and made “the amount of urine that you would expect” from a transplanted human kidney according to transplant surgeon, and principle study investigator, Dr. Robert Montgomery.
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