Pig’s kidney given to brain-dead human in US

Published October 22, 2021
A genetically engineered pig kidney appears healthy during a transplant operation at NYU Langone in New York, US, in this undated handout photo. — Reuters
A genetically engineered pig kidney appears healthy during a transplant operation at NYU Langone in New York, US, in this undated handout photo. — Reuters

NEW YORK: Surgeons in the United States claimed on Wednesday they had successfully given a pig’s kidney to a person in a transplant breakthrough they hope could ultimately solve donor organ shortages.

The recipient was brain-dead, meaning they were already on artificial life support with no prospect of recovering.

The kidney came from a pig that had been genetically modified to stop the organ being recognised by the body as “foreign” and being rejected.

The work is not yet peer-reviewed or published, but there are plans for this. Experts say it is the most advanced experiment in the field so far. Similar tests have been done in non-human primates, but not people, until now.

During the two-hour operation at the New York University Langone Health medical centre, the surgeons connected the donor pig kidney to the blood vessels of the brain-dead recipient to see if it would function normally once plumbed in, or be rejected.

Over the next two-and-a-half days they closely monitored the kidney, running numerous checks and tests.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2021

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