A Pig Kidney Transplant in a Human For the First Time Ever


by Hamna Bano

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Health in New York conducted a groundbreaking kidney transplant using a genetically altered pig kidney. The surgery was performed on a brain-dead patient. The surgeons attached the donated pig kidney successfully to the patient by connecting to the blood vessels of the upper leg, outside of the abdomen. Initially, it was given a try to see if it works or gets rejected.


Previously many such attempts have failed due to the body’s natural tendency to reject any foreign organ. After the surgery, the patient was kept under the control of a ventilator for almost 54 hours, involving the consent of the family. All this time, the urine production and the creatinine levels were observed closely as primary indicators of a healthy kidney.

According to the lead investigator, Dr. Robert Montgomery said, “We observed a kidney that worked just like a human being’s. It functioned normally, and did not appear to be undergoing rejection”.

To make the transplant a success, the scientists discovered how to wear out the gene that encodes the sugar molecule found in mammals which is a huge trigger for organ rejection. So, for that matter, the doctor’s team used some of the FDA-approved immunosuppressant medication to avoid any type of dismissal. It was not only the kidney that was donated but also the thymus gland of the pig too. The main function of his gland is to educate the immune system just to eradicate any of the negative immune responses to the new transplant.

Dr. Montgomery added, “pigs are very easy to genetically modify keeping in mind that primate organs are quite more agreeable with humans. The organ size of a pig is also just as same as that of a human being”. Montgomery even said,  “We are sure that in the coming ten years the possibility of transplanting pig heart, lungs, and even liver in the human body would be possible.”