Pig Kidney to a Human
- October 22, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Pig Kidney to a Human
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – surgeons gave pig kidney to a human
- On October 19, USA Today reported that surgeons from New York have successfully transplanted a pig kidney into a brain-dead human.
- The team from NYU Langone Health used the kidney from a genetically engineered pig and transplanted it into a deceased donor. The function and acceptance of the new kidney were studied for 54 hours.
- The kidney began functioning and producing large amounts of urine within minutes of being connected to the person’s blood vessels. He added that the creatinine which is cleared from the blood by the kidney dropped from 1.9 to 0.8 demonstrating that the kidney was functioning optimally.
- If found compatible in the long run, this process of Xenotransplantation, or transplanting organs between different species, could help provide an alternative and additional supply of organs for people facing life-threatening diseases.
Why a genetically engineered pig?
- The transplant conducted on September 25, used a kidney that was obtained from a pig that had undergone editing to knock out a gene that codes for a sugar molecule called Alpha-gal. Alpha-gal is not normally found in humans and this molecule can elicit a devastating immune response in humans.
- The pigs with this gene alteration are called GalSafe pigs and have been FDA approved for human use for those who have pork allergies and also for use in pharmacology. These pigs have been well studied and have passed various levels of regulatory scrutiny.
- Though primate organs are more compatible with humans, pigs are easier to genetically modify. They also breed better with large litter, grow faster, and are less likely to transmit infections. The size of their organs is also similar to ours.
Did they transplant the pig kidney inside the human body?
- No, the kidney was attached to blood vessels in the upper leg, outside the abdomen. It was covered with a protective shield for observation.
- The genetic modification of the single sugar molecule was responsible for preventing rapid rejection.