- There are two research groups A team of scientists succeeded in transplanting the kidneys of transgenic pigs into the bodies of humans.
- The University of Alabama at Birmingham Hersink School of Medicine found that the transplanted pig kidneys produced urine and effectively performed life-sustaining kidney functions such as filtering waste.
- A separate team at Langone Health in New York has made a breakthrough by having a transgenic pig kidney function effectively for a record 32 days inside a brain-dead human recipient.
- These groundbreaking developments in the field of transplantation indicate promising steps toward addressing the ongoing crisis of organ shortages.
About 37 million American adults have chronic kidney disease (CKD) and some will develop end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) in which the kidneys fail.
Kidney transplants are the best treatment for end-stage kidney disease, but only to their limits 25,000 people Receive organ transplants every year in the United States.
The scarcity of donated kidneys means that nearly 40% of people on transplant waiting lists die within five years.
To tackle this problem, scientists are exploring transplantation, using organs from animals such as pigs for human transplants.
Two separate research teams report recent advances in transplanting pig kidneys into humans. These developments are important milestones in the field of organ transplantation.
A research team from the University of Alabama at Hersink College of Medicine in Birmingham has discovered that transplanted pig kidneys produce urine and filter waste effectively in a human recipient, providing vital life-sustaining kidney function.
This hack is detailed in a research letter published in
In their study, the researchers transplanted pig kidneys into a deceased human who was declared brain dead. Pig kidneys have been genetically modified to be more compatible with human physiology.
Pig kidney recipients were given medications to prevent their immune systems from rejecting the organs. Remarkably, pig kidneys began to function in human recipients.
The pigs’ kidneys produced urine like human kidneys and helped filter waste products from the blood, including a substance called creatinine that builds up when the kidneys are not working properly.
Before the transplant, the recipients had high levels of creatinine, but these levels dropped after the transplant, indicating that the pigs’ kidneys were working well.
Tissue samples from the pigs’ kidneys showed normal structures under a microscope, indicating that they were functioning properly without major problems.
Study co-author Dr. Jaime E. LockeProfessor of Surgery in the Department of Transplantation and Arnold G. Diethelm Chair in Transplantation Surgery at the University of Alabama at the Birmingham Hersink School of Medicine Medical news today:
“For the first time in history, we have shown that a pig kidney can provide a life-sustaining kidney function in a human, which means that the kidney produces urine in addition to removing toxic substances from the body. We strongly believe that it can alleviate the potentially fatal organ deficiency crisis and hope that We can move to clinical trials on live people in the near future.
This research has ethical implications, but Dr. Locke and his colleagues “worked very closely with their own internal Ethics Review Board as well as the external ethicist.”
“The biggest focus has been ensuring families are supported throughout and honoring the extraordinary gift,” explained Dr. Locke.
In a second study, researchers at Langone Health in New York made a major breakthrough by successfully transplanting a genetically modified pig kidney into another brain-dead recipient, according to a new study. New York University press release.
The transgenic pig kidney continued to function effectively for 32 days inside the recipient’s body, marking the longest working transgenic pig kidney in a human.
The researchers are still monitoring the results and the study will continue through mid-September 2023.
This research shows that a pig kidney, with only one genetic modification and without drugs or experimental devices, can replace a functioning human kidney for more than a month without being rejected by the recipient’s immune system.
Challenges encountered in previous transplant attempts, such as immediate rejection due to mismatched biomolecules, were addressed in this study through specific genetic modifications.
To ensure that the pig kidney was the only functioning organ, the patient’s native kidney was surgically removed prior to the pig kidney transplant.
The pig kidney began producing urine immediately after the operation and its performance was evaluated through regular biopsies and renal function tests.
Throughout the study, the pig kidneys functioned well, maintaining healthy levels of creatinine in the blood.
The study received ethical approval and was conducted in consultation with the New York State Department of Health.
The involvement of the donor’s family, who donated the body of a 57-year-old man after brain death, was pivotal in enabling this study.
In addition, a non-profit organization LiveOnNYwhich facilitates organ and tissue donation in New York City, has played a critical role in supporting and collaborating with this initiative.
Successful pig kidney transplants are important, as they demonstrate the potential success of using pig kidneys for human transplants amid an ongoing shortage of organ donors.
Dr. Toby CoatesProfessor of Medicine at the University of Adelaide, Australia, and Director of Organ Transplantation at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, spoke to Science Media CenterOn the search results:
“This case 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 a functioning human kidney for one week without rejection and using conventional drug therapy for kidney transplantation.” He said.
However, as one case, more research is needed to determine whether this specific approach could be a long-term solution for people with kidney problems.
Dr. Sabrina Kongspoke to a veterinarian in San Mateo, California, who was not involved in either study MNT About search.
“This is a huge step for modern medicine, especially given the wide gap between supply and demand for kidney transplants,” she said. “Many patients with end-stage kidney disease wait years for a transplant, and some unfortunately die while waiting.”
Dr. Kat HenstridgeA veterinary surgeon based in the UK, who was also not involved in the new research, said MNT:
“Although it is clear that we still have a long way to go before transplants become a routine option for living recipients, this research shows some very promising results and could represent a huge step forward for patients affected by organ failure.”
“The use of pigs in this research is not taken lightly,” Dr. Kong noted.
“Pigs are intelligent and social animals, and their welfare is of paramount importance. However, the possibility of saving or improving the lives of countless human beings through organ transplantation is a compelling argument.
“From my perspective as a veterinarian, I have always been an advocate for animal welfare. However, I also understand the broader context and development of medical science.
“In the veterinary field, we often have to make difficult decisions for the greater good, whether it is for the health of a particular animal or the improvement of a species. Similarly, in medical research, there are difficult choices to be made,” added Dr. Kong. .
Dr. Henstridge agrees, noting, “There are clearly some very important ethical implications of this technology, both for the humans and the animals affected.”
“From an animal care perspective as a veterinary surgeon, my opinion and approach is much the same as any other animal we use for human gain; as long as they lived a life where their social needs were met, where they were able to express their normal behavior and were free from pain, discomfort and distress, and then underwent surgery and euthanasia.” Subsequent euthanasia is calm, gentle, and painless.By the way, I have absolutely no objection to their use as organ donors for human patients.
— Dr. Kat Henstridge, veterinary surgeon
“The pigs used in these studies were genetically modified to be compatible with human physiology, which raises ethical questions about the limits of genetic engineering,” Dr Kong noted.
“However, these modifications are made for a clear and noble purpose: to address the significant shortage of human organs available for transplantation,” explained Dr. Kong.
“If this research continues to show promise and address ethical concerns, it could revolutionize the field of transplantation, providing hope to countless patients awaiting life-saving transplants,” she concluded.