Pig kidney keeps working in human body for over a month
The experiment is one of several aimed at speeding the start of clinical trials on living humans.
A genetically modified pig kidney transplanted into a brain-dead patient over a month ago is still working normally, researchers have found.
The procedure was carried out by a team of surgeons in New York on 14 July, and researchers are now tracking the kidney’s performance for a second month.
It is the longest period a gene-edited pig kidney has functioned in a human.
“Is this organ really going to work like a human organ? So far it’s looking like it is,” said Dr Robert Montgomery, director of NYU Langone’s transplant institute.
The deceased patient, Maurice “Mo” Miller from upstate New York, died suddenly at 57 with a previously undiagnosed brain cancer – ruling out routine organ donation.
The possibility that pig kidneys might one day help ease a dire shortage of transplantable organs is what persuaded his family to donate his body for the research.
Dr Montgomery replaced the deceased patient’s own kidneys with a single kidney from a genetically modified pig – and watched it immediately start producing urine.
The NYU research is one of several aimed at speeding the start of clinical trials on living humans.
Also on Wednesday, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) reported a pair of genetically modified pig kidneys had worked normally inside another donated body.