December 1, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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A pig kidney was successfully transplanted into a human

A pig kidney was successfully transplanted into a human
– Dmitry Kalinowski / Shutterstock.com

Medicine is the first in the world: researchers have succeeded in transplanting a pig’s kidney into a person. The operation was successful and the transplanted organ was not rejected by the host. Researchers hope that this first success will lead to many more.

Successful operation without rejection of the transplanted organ

The waiting time for a kidney transplant is usually several years due to organ shortage. Unfortunately, this problem is getting worse, and this expectation is expected to increase over time. But there is still hope. If this problem can be proven to be viable for genograft organs, the problem can be mitigated by using non-human animal organs. Research has recently taken a big step in this direction because, for the first time in history, researchers have successfully transplanted an entire organ Pig – A kidney – on a human patient.

According to a report by Reuters, A transplant performed by surgeons at New York University’s Longon Health Center was performed on a person on life support who did not recognize brain activity, whose family agreed to the experimental procedure. A few days after surgery, the researchers were able to see that the patient had not had a kidney rejection and that the tests were working normally. The success of the transplant already marks a revolution in the medical field, marking this unprecedented success, as the organ came from a genetically modified pig.

During the 54-hour experiment, the kidneys remained outside the patient’s body and surgeons were able to observe the organ and take tissue samples. Although the kidney was not implanted inside the body, the procedure still allowed the team to see if the organ would be rejected immediately. This monitoring is important because the idea of ​​using other species for organ transplantation is not new, and total organ transplantation is never possible due to the risk of rejection. Rejection occurs because the body assumes that it is the transplant of the invader to be destroyed as a result of the immune response attacking the organ.

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– Gerain0812 / Shutterstock.com

Genetically modified pig

The major barriers that have so far led to the rejection of pig organ transplantation are the tissues that contain the gene that encodes a sugar molecule called alpha-gall. In some people with a rare allergy to red meat, alpha-gal induces malignant allergic reactions, reported Live Science. For transplantation, this molecule usually leads to organ rejection. But the researchers solved the problem by using a non-genetically modified pig kidney that produces this sugar.

This genetically modified pig, nicknamed GallSafe, was developed by the United Therapeutics Corporation. Its use is initially for food for people who are allergic to meat. Potential use for human therapy is considered for gall‌saf. So, in order to fully prepare for an organ transplant, the researchers modified it by transplanting the pig thymus – a small gland that helps form immune cells to fight infection – into the kidney. With this first successful operation with GallSafe, researchers want to know if these transgenic pigs can provide other organs, for example, a heart transplant and a skin transplant.