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In a surgery the first of its kind, surgeons in New York City managed to transplant a pig kidney into a human without causing an immediate rejection from the recipient's immune system. The pig's genes were genetically modified prior to the transplant so that they no longer contained a molecule known to trigger the rejection and it's thought to be a major breakthrough that could potentially help human organ shortages.

The recipient was a brain-dead individual on life support with no chance of recovery whose family agreed to the experimental surgery, however, until now similar experiments have not been carried out on humans. Transplant surgeon, Dr. Robert Montgomery, who led the test said the kidney's function "looked pretty normal," and that it produced "the amount of urine that you would expect" from a transplanted human kidney.

At the same time, using pigs for transplants is not a completely brand-new idea either, and pig heart valves are already widely used in humans, but researchers have been stalled over ways to prevent immediate rejection by the human body when it comes to transplants - until now. Dr. Montgomery's team speculated that removing the pig gene producing a carbohydrate that triggers rejection would relieve the issue and thus the genetically-altered pig was developed.

The pig, dubbed GalSafe, was approved in December 2020 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for use as food for people with a type of meat allergy and also as a potential source of human therapeutics. Any medical products developed from the pigs will still require specific FDA approval before using them in humans but other researchers are looking in the possibility of whether these pigs could be sources of everything from heart valves to skin grafts.

Patients with end-stage kidney failure could soon see a light at the end of the tunnel with Montgomery adding that trials in patients could begin within the next year or two and is hopeful that it could pave the way as being a short-term solution until a human kidney becomes available or even as a permanent graft.

However, ethical questions surrounding the experiment have prevailed and Dr. Maryam Khosravi, a kidney doctor who works for the National Health Service in the United Kingdom said that "just because we can doesn't mean we should. I think the community at large needs to answer these questions."

What do you think of this advancement?

Can you imagine a future where human organs can be sourced from other species?

Are you worried about the ethical aspect of this kind of experiment or potential future use?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Influence your world,
Toluna Team


  7 months ago
This is an absolute no for me. I understand why people find this an appealing option but to me this is ethically wrong


  7 months ago
No. Animals are living sentient beings. I don't believe we are meant to 'command' them (opens them to misuse). I think they are meant to walk alongside us. That we have a duty to protect their rights, their consent and not to use them carelessly


  7 months ago
Yes. All for it


  7 months ago
I think it is a good idea, medicine has used animal compounds for years to the benefit of millions.


  7 months ago
Definitely a fantastic idea , medical science is evolving all the time , This is Definitely the way forward. Imagine never being short of any organs and millions of lives being saved every year .


  7 months ago
As long as animals arent reared solely for this purpose. they would need a good free range life and once their organs were used the rest of the animal used in the food chain etc, no waste. And not to be used willy nilly, has to be right for the person and the animal


  7 months ago
It's not natural. Of course I feel sorry for those who could benefit from such treatment, but from a moral standpoint it's just not right!


  7 months ago


  7 months ago
Definitely not. More money should be put into population control


  7 months ago
No, definitely not! Surely there is a better way to deal with this?
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