Pig kidney works in human patient; ‘Potential miracle,’ hails US surgeon

As per the reports of AFP, in the recent breakthrough transplant, a US medical team has successfully attached a pig’s kidney to a person. Although the attachment was temporary, it was a successful transplant. The surgery is considered a “potential miracle” by the surgeon who led the procedure himself. It was carried out on September 25.

There was a genetically modified donor animal and a brain-dead patient involved in the surgery. For the sake of the advancement of science, the patient’s family gave permission for a two-day experiment on the brain-dead patient who was still on the ventilator, reported by AFP.

“It did what it’s supposed to do, which is remove waste and make urine,” Robert Montgomery, director of the transplant institute at New York University (NYU) Langone, told AFP in an interview. The surgery went on for around two hours.

The kidney was connected to blood vessels by a team of doctors on the top of one of the patient’s legs in order to observe it and take biopsy samples. Montgomery told AFP that the patient always wanted to be an organ donor. However, his organs were not suitable for donation. A 54-hour long test was performed on the patient, and he was also taken off the ventilator. The patient’s family”felt a sense of relief that this was another donation opportunity.”

Post-surgery, it was diagnosed that the organ was able to reduce the level of molecule creatinine which is a key indicator of kidney health. According to many known types of research, it is observed that kidneys from pigs are viable in nonhuman primates for a maximum of a year.

Nonetheless, this was the first time ever that the test was attempted on a human patient. The donor pig was associated with the herd that went through a genetic editing procedure in order to knock out a gene that produces a particular sugar.

“It is still a question what would happen three weeks from now, three months, three years,” said Montgomery. “The only way we’re really going to be able to answer that is to move this into a living human trial. But I think this is a really important intermediate step, which tells us that at least initially, things are probably going to be okay.”

Robert Montgomery has decided to submit its findings to a scientific journal in the upcoming month. It is also expecting a clinical trial in about a year or two. The outside experts very openly welcomed the news, but they would firstly like the peer to review data before drawing firm conclusions.

According to the official US data, nearly 107,000 Americans are desperately waiting for an organ transplant, and 90,000 of them need a kidney. As a matter of fact, seventeen Americans die every day while waiting for an organ.

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