Scientists transplant two pig kidneys into human recipient

In a new study published in the American Journal of Transplantation, researchers report that they successfully transplanted two kidneys from a genetically modified pig into a human who was brain dead.

The transplantation of pig organs into humans promises to increase the number of available organs for transplantation and prevent thousands of deaths in the U.S. that result each year due to a shortage of organs.

This study used a novel preclinical human model to answer numerous critical safety questions so as to promote advancement of xenotransplantation into living humans. Although the physiologic stress in the decedent was not an ideal environment to support kidney function, the kidneys produced urine and were not rejected in the short term.

The study provides important insights and identifies several areas where additional research is needed before xenotransplantation can be used to help address the current organ shortage.

“This study provides knowledge that could not be generated in animal models and moves us closer to a future where organ supply meets the tremendous need,” said senior author Jayme E. Locke, MD, MPH, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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