BLUFThanks to the success of a recent transplant operation, it is hoped that in the not too distant future, pig-to-human organ transplants will become commonplace.
In a world-first, US surgeons have successfully transplanted a pig's kidney into a person. The surgery has not yet been peer-reviewed, but medical experts hope this breakthrough could ultimately solve the critical shortage of human donors. Key points of the article include:
The kidney came from a pig that had been genetically modified to stop the organ from being rejected.
The human recipient was brain-dead and on artificial life support with no prospect of recovering.
The patient's family had given their consent.
Experts say this is the most advanced experiment in the transplant field so far.
Pig-organ transplants are not a new idea.
Pig heart valves are already widely used in humans.
Because of their size, pig organs are a good match for humans.
Similar tests have been done in non-human primates but, until now, not people.
During the two-hour operation, the surgeons connected the donor kidney to the human recipient to see if the kidney would function normally or be rejected.
The medical team found the organ was functioning well and showed no signs of rejection.
But despite the success of this operation, experts believe it will still be some time before transplants of this kind become an everyday reality.
Mar 2021 US FDA Xenotransplantation
Oct 2021 ABC Australia US surgeons successfully transplant kidney from genetically altered pig into human patient
Oct 2021 The Economist A pig kidney has been successfully transplanted into a human for the first time
Oct 2021 The Guardian Surgeons successfully test pig kidney transplant in human patient