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A world first! Pig kidney transplanted into human body, functions normally, no rejection yet

Release time:

2021-10-27

Recently, NYU Langone Medical Center conducted a special experiment - transplanting kidneys from pigs into humans for the first time, and there has been no rejection reaction so far. The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited pig.

As early as decades ago, scientists envisioned using animal organs to solve the shortage of organs for human transplantation. Since the size of pig organs is just right, and the pig's anatomical structure, physiological indicators, and blood group antigens are similar to those of humans, it has become a hot spot for research. Pig heart valves have been used successfully in humans for decades; the blood thinner heparin is extracted from pig intestines; pig skin grafts are used for burns; Chinese surgeons use pig corneas to restore patients' vision . But xenotransplantation is not just about buying a pig on the market. In order to avoid xenogeneic rejection, scientists need to genetically modify the pigs to reduce as much as possible the molecules in the cells that can cause the body's rejection, so that the pig's organs can take root smoothly. in the human body.

 

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The experiment was completed by a team led by Professor Robert Montgomery, Director of the Transplantation Institute at NYU Langone Health Center, and the experimental pigs were selected to have type O blood. The human recipient was a brain-dead female patient with signs of renal insufficiency, and her family agreed to conduct the experiment before she ceased to show signs of life. Montgomery's team has been preparing for this attempt for three years. During the operation, they used surgical clamps to separate the patient's blood from the pig's kidneys. Once they released the clamp, blood was injected into the new organ. If the new kidney quickly turns blue, it indicates that the immune system has sounded the rallying call and mobilized immune cells to fight against the foreign organ. This means that the work of the Montgomery team in recent years has been wasted.

To avoid risks, the team had connected a pig kidney to a pair of large blood vessels outside a deceased recipient's body last month and observed it for two days. They found that the kidneys did what they were supposed to do, filter waste and produce urine, and did not trigger rejection. Similarly, the brain-dead patient did not experience rejection after the pig kidney was transplanted during the operation, and everything is normal now. Montgomery said: "The surgery looked very normal, and the recipient's abnormal creatinine levels returned to normal after the transplant." The researchers said this is an important step toward realizing the xenotransplantation program, which will save thousands of people every year in the near future. human life.

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