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Oct 20, 2021

In a First, Surgeons Attached a Pig Kidney to a Human — and It Worked

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

The kidney used in the new procedure was obtained by knocking out a pig gene that encodes a sugar molecule that elicits an aggressive human rejection response. The pig was genetically engineered by Revivicor and approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as a source for human therapeutics.

Dr. Montgomery and his team also transplanted the pig’s thymus, a gland that is involved in the immune system, in an effort to ward off immune reactions to the kidney.

After attaching the kidney to blood vessels in the upper leg, the surgeons covered it with a protective shield so they could observe it and take tissue samples over the 54-hour study period. Urine and creatinine levels were normal, Dr. Montgomery and his colleagues found, and no signs of rejection were detected during more than two days of observation.


A kidney grown in a genetically altered pig seemed to function normally, potentially a new source for desperately needed transplant organs.

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