Scientists celebrate as pig kidney continues to function in human body

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Surgeons in the United States have announced that a pig kidney they transplanted into the body of a brain-dead human patient has functioned normally for more than a month, a promising sign in the effort to address widespread organ donation needs.

Surgeons at the New York University Langone Transplant Institute said on Wednesday that the milestone is the longest a pig kidney had functioned in a person, albeit a deceased one.

“We have a genetically edited pig kidney surviving for over a month in a human,” institute director Robert Montgomery told reporters.

He said the results provide “further assurances” for any future studies in living patients. The pig kidney had been genetically modified to omit a gene that produces biomolecules that human immune systems attack and reject.

“We’ve now gathered more evidence to show that, at least in kidneys, just eliminating the gene that triggers a hyperacute rejection may be enough — along with clinically approved immunosuppressive drugs — to successfully manage the transplant in a human for optimal performance, potentially in the long-term,” Montgomery said.

Credit Al Jazeera