Pig kidney works in man’s body for more than a month
Researchers at NYU Langone Health on Wednesday said that a pig kidney they placed in a brain-dead man had worked normally for more than a month. The man’s family consented to the procedure in hopes that it would provide viable transplant options for future patients. The organ is the longest-lasting pig kidney in a human being, and researchers plan to leave it in the man.
Why is this a big deal? Heart valves from pigs have been implanted in humans for decades. However, the process of transplanting an entire animal organ into a human—called xenotransplantation—has historically failed, as people’s bodies have assaulted the foreign tissue. But scientists have been genetically engineering some pigs so that their organs are a better match for human bodies. One man at the University of Maryland lived for two months last year with a heart from a genetically engineered pig before dying of undetermined complications.
Dig deeper: Listen to my report on the Doubletake podcast about the people drawing attention to the organ harvesting system in China.
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