For the first time in Medical history, Pig kidney has been successfully implanted in humans without triggering the immune system. New York doctors achieved the milestone by successfully attaching full-grown pig kidneys.
Though there’s no problem as of now, there are several questions that remain on the long-term impact of implantation.
NYU Langone Health completed the procedure using a pig whose genes had been altered, which means the molecule responsible for triggering the rejection in the immune system was no longer present in the tissue.
As per the researchers, the patient was brain dead with kidney dysfunction; her family consisted of the experiment before removing her from life support.
For three days, researchers attached the kidney to blood vessels and maintained it outside to get access.
If they can find out the long term impact of the implant, it can be a huge turnaround as more than 100000 Americans are waiting for organ transplants, and 90,000 people are waiting for kidney transplants with a waiting time of 3 to 5 years, according to United Networks for organ sharing.
Researchers have been working over decades to use animal organs for human organ transplants. A steady stream of organs which could eventually include the liver, heart, kidney, would offer a lifeline to lakhs of people.
The research was first reported in USA Today on Tuesday. As of now, researchers have not published in a medical journal. According to the director of NYU Lagone transplant institute, DR. Robert Montagony, who performed the procedure in September, report says “the kidney is working perfectly normally, making urine and waste products almost immediately.”
Although organs are not technically implanted inside the body, their working observation outside the body indicates them working inside, as per Dr. Montagony.
Further, he said, “it’s better than what we expected; it looked exactly like the transplant I have done in living donors. Kidneys from many deceased people don’t work for some time, it takes a few days to start, but this worked almost immediately.”
This NYU transplant experiment should pave the way for trials on patients with end-stage kidney failure in the next two years, said Dr. Robert.
These trials will be beneficial as short-term solutions for medically ill patients until a kidney is available for transplant.
The researchers have worked with medical ethics, religious and legal experts before asking for consent from the family for temporary access to brain dead patients, said DR. Montagony.