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Pig kidney transplant in human patient

  • IASbaba
  • October 20, 2021
  • 0
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Pig kidney transplant in human patient

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Sci and tech

Context For the first time, a pig kidney has been transplanted into a human without triggering immediate rejection by the recipient’s immune system.

  • This is a potentially major advance that could eventually help alleviate a dire shortage of human organs for transplant.

Key takeaways 

  • The procedure was done at NYU Langone Health in New York City.
  • It involved use of a pig whose genes had been altered so that its tissues no longer contained a molecule known to trigger almost immediate rejection.
    • The genetically altered pig, dubbed GalSafe, was used as the donor.
  • The recipient was a brain-dead patient with signs of kidney dysfunction whose family consented to the experiment before she was due to be taken off of life support.
  • Finding: The team theorized that removing out the pig gene for a carbohydrate that triggers rejection – a sugar molecule, or glycan, called alpha-gal – would prevent the problem.
  • Future possibility: The NYU kidney transplant experiment should pave the way for trials in patients with end-stage kidney failure, possibly in the next year or two,

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