An astonishing surgery has been recorded recently in which surgeons successfully transplanted a pig’s kidney to human body. The pig was genetically developed in such a way so that it became fit for the process. The surgery was made by connecting the pig’s kidneys to blood vessels outside the body of a woman who was brain dead.
As per NYT, The observations were made for two days. The team found that the kidney was doing its function and didn’t show signs of rejection during the short observation period.
Thousands have to wait for an organ transplant and such findings provide surgeons other options than human donors. This experiment went only for 54 hours and a brain-dead patient was used who was kept alive artificially. The team found that the pig’s kidney got connections properly and also functioned well in observation time.
Xenotransplantation is the technical term used for transplanting tissue or organ from one kind of species to another. As per officials, 17 people on average lose their life due to the scarcity of human donors. This experiment can also lead to an approach for other kinds of organ transplantation.
Dorry Segev, professor of transplant surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, conveyed this transplantation of pig’s kidney to human body as a huge breakthrough. Organs of pigs are considerably suited for humans but pig cells have a sugar called alpha-gal which is not accepted by the human body.
Thus for this experiment pig was genetically made to not produce the alpha-gal. It is observed that a pig’s kidney in human body is properly doing its work thus filtering out the waste from the blood and producing urine.
Robert Montgomery, who led the transplant at NYU Langone Health in New York City, told USA Today that it is far better. then what he hoped. Experts said that bringing this finding into the real-world application will take one to two years. As there are many ethical concerns that need to be taken care of. Sometimes a patient’s family is not ready for such a transplant.
Pigs are likely to be more suitable than any other animals because pigs are bred for food, and have large litters, small gestation periods, and organs that are similar to the ones humans possess. Thus already pig skin grafts are used for burns, pig heart valves are used in humans.
Martine Rothblatt, the chief executive of United Therapeutics says, “This is an important step in understanding the applications of xenotransplantation which will save thousands of lives soon.”