A new era of transplants? They made pig kidneys fulfill vital functions in humans

A new era of transplants? They made pig kidneys fulfill vital functions in humans

The Animal organ transplants with genetic modifications researched since the 1950s. But they have been found Different obstacles to make them a safe and massive option for the large number of patients with diseases that require the Replacement of an organ.

Now, in the United States met Two experimental works from the use of kidneys of pigs in patients who were brain dead.

In one case, a man who was brain dead, Maurice Miller, 57, received a transplant from a genetically altered pig kidney. His sister had given consent for the intervention. The organ in Miller’s body has been functioning for 32 days, as reported by the surgeons of the institution NYU Langone Health.

The procedure managed to circumvent a fairly common problem in animal-to-human transplants: organ rejection on the receiver. In Miller’s case, the pig’s kidney was not rejected in the minutes after transplantation. It began producing urine and took over the functions of a human kidney, such as filtering toxins, doctors said at a news conference.

Although Miller has already passed away, and the experiment is not over yet. Researchers will follow kidney function for a second month.

Robert Montgomery, Director of the Transplant Institute NYU Langone, He said the transplanted organ seems to be working well. “It looks even better than a human kidney,” Montgomery told the AP agency on July 14 in the first hours after transplantation.

Miller’s sister was the one who made the decision to give consent for him to participate in the experimental study. “I had a hard time,” Mary Miller-Duffy said, “but she liked helping others and I think this is what my brother would want. So I offered them my brother. It’s going to be in the medical books and live forever.”

On the other hand, researchers from the Heersink School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA, published a study of a patient over 50 who had also been brain dead. He suffered from chronic kidney disease.

He had two pig kidneys transplanted with 10 genetic alterations earlier this year. The kidneys were not rejected and continued to operate for seven days. The results were peer-reviewed and published in the journal JAMA Surgery.

According to the researchers Jayme Locke, Vineeta Kumar, and Douglas Anderson, before doing the procedure, followed a protocol that only included people 18 years of age or older declared brain dead whose families gave informed consent for participation in the study. Transplantation could only be performed if all options for organ donation for transplantation had already been exhausted.

From the transplant, the researchers considered that “pig-to-human xenotransplantation provided vital kidney function to a deceased human with chronic renal failure.”

But scientists admitted that “Future research on living human receptors is needed to determine the renal function” of the transplanted organ in the long term and whether they could serve as bridge or target therapy for end-stage renal failure.

This study, they stressed, “shows xenotransplantation as a possible viable solution to a organ shortage crisis responsible for thousands of preventable deaths every year.”

For Toby Coates, Professor of Medicine at the University of Adelaide and Director of Transplantation, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Australia, The case published in JAMA Surgery “It represents one of the first functional kidney transplants from a pig to a human, and shows proof of principle that organs from a genetically modified animal can replace human kidney function for one week ifn rejection and using conventional drug therapy for kidney transplants.

The key breakthrough in that case is the genetic deletion of four porcine genes that previously stood a barrier to successful cross-species transplants, and the insertion of six human genes that prevent clotting and “humanize” the pig kidney to look more human.


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