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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
Reply

R3503591h35

  7 months ago
It's just scary!!!
0 comments

G3203057g32

  7 months ago
We are slowly moving into a time where a new breed of species will Rome and dwell among us
0 comments

A2081985d20

  7 months ago
I think it a good practice if it helps the people and if we have family in the future who are ok with experimenting with they loved ones and they okay with it then I'm okay if they not doing it illegally.
0 comments

Umphile

  7 months ago
I mean it’s already being practiced and it sure seems like it’s working. If it helps save people’s lives, I see no problem with that. As long as the animals as well are treated well and not necessarily killed just to save human lives.
0 comments

nagineko

  7 months ago
I think this is a revolutionary advancement that can potentially save a lot of lives, as a scientist i believe this is good for humanity, however ethically i am concerned about the idea of mixing pig organs with humans, and also concerned if we should be taking this kind of actions ourselves.
0 comments

V7820528t78

  7 months ago
We are slowly moving into a time where a new breed of species will Rome and dwell among us
0 comments

P9326131y93

  7 months ago
For the fact that it has the potential to save lives, it should be applied to anyone who signs an informed consent. I, personally, would go for it.
0 comments

Vuvu007

  7 months ago
I think it’s awesome , I have recently received an animal heart valve when I had an operation and it was a huge success. If it wasn’t for that animal/ tissue valve I probably would still be on a waiting list. Thumbs up
0 comments

mulaloanikie

  7 months ago
Oh no this is not right
0 comments

PrettyPetty26

  7 months ago
This is not right. I don't understand why humans should have genetically modified animal organs. It's just barbaric
0 comments
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