United States: a pig kidney transplanted for the first time into a living patient

United States: a pig kidney transplanted for the first time into a living patient

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Surgeons transplanted the kidney of a pig genetically modified on a living patient, a first which represents a new step towards a potential solution to the chronic shortage of organ donations, an American hospital announced this Thursday.

The patient, aged 62, is “recovering well” from the operation which took place less than a week ago, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston said in a statement. Kidneys from genetically modified pigs had already been transplanted and worked in brain-dead humans.

Kidneys from genetically modified pigs had already been transplanted and functioned in brain-dead humans. Living patients have also previously received a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig, but then died. These genetic modifications are carried out in order to reduce the risk of rejection.

100,000 people waiting

The doctors “thoroughly explained to me the pros and cons of the procedure,” the patient, Richard Slayman, was quoted as saying in the press release. “I saw this as a way to not only help myself, but also to give hope to thousands of people who need a transplant to survive. »

More than 100,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant in the United States. The kidney is the most commonly required organ. The domain of xenografts – transplants of animal organs into humans – has been progressing at high speed in recent years.

The world first of a pig kidney transplant into a brain-dead human was carried out in September 2021, by surgeons at NYU Langone Hospital in New York.

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