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.
- 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,