Surgeons have successfully tested the pig kidney in a human patient

Acceptance: The research was conducted last month and has not yet been published in a journal or peer-reviewed, but outside experts say it represents a major advance. “There’s no doubt that this is a significant achievement,” said Darren K Griffin, professor of genetics at the University of Kent, UK. “The researcher’s team was cautious, using a patient suffering from brain death, who attached the kidney to the outside of the body and carefully examined only a limited amount of time. Thus there was still a lot to look forward to and a lot more. will be known, “he added.

“It’s a huge achievement. It’s a big, big deal, ”Dr. Dorry Segev, professor of transplant surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who is not involved in the research, told New York Times. However, he added: “We need to know more about the longevity of the organ.”

The background: In recent years, research has increasingly zeroed in on pigs as the most promising way to help organ deficiency, but it faces many obstacles, the more prominent being that a sugar in pigs. pig cells provoke an aggressive response to rejection in humans.

The researchers circumvented this by modifying the pig’s genetic donor to drop the gene that encodes the sugar molecule that causes the rejection response. The pig is genetically engineered Revivicor, one of several biotech companies working to develop pig organs for transfer to humans.

The big prize: There is a strong need for multiple kidneys for transplants. More than 100,000 people in the U.S. are now waiting for a kidney transplant, and 13 of them die every day, according to National Kidney Foundation. Genetically engineered pigs could provide an important life line for these people, if the method tested by NYU Langone could work more often.

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