A major progress that could eventually help to lessen a dire shortage of human organs for transplant has shown as a pig kidney has been transplanted into a human without triggering immediate rejection by the recipient’s immune system.
The procedure was done at the New York University (NYU) Langone Health, involved the use of a pig whose genes had been altered so that its tissues no longer contained a molecule known to trigger almost immediate rejection.
TOS NEWS learnt that the recipient was a brain-dead patient with signs of kidney dysfunction whose family consented to the experiment before she was due to be taken off of life support.
The new kidney was attached to her blood vessels and maintained outside her body for three days, giving researchers access to it.
According to Dr. Robert Montgomery, who led the study, Test results of the transplanted kidney’s function “looked pretty normal.”
The kidney made “the amount of urine that you would expect” from a transplanted human kidney, he said and there was no evidence of the vigorous and early rejection seen when unmodified pig kidneys are transplanted into non-human primates.
“The recipient’s abnormal creatinine level – an indicator of poor kidney function – returned to normal after the transplant,”Montgomery said.
In the United States, nearly 107,000 people are presently waiting for organ transplants, including more than 90,000 awaiting a kidney, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. The waiting period for a kidney may average three-to-five years.