For the First Time, a Human Receives a Pig Kidney Transplant

Written by Camilla Jessen

Mar.22 - 2024 1:42 PM CET

A man suffering from chronic kidney failure has successfully received a pig kidney transplant, marking a significant medical milestone.

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In a groundbreaking medical procedure that could revolutionize organ transplantation, a man with chronic kidney failure has become the first living person to receive a pig kidney.

Dr. Tatsuo Kawai, one of the surgeons involved in the Boston hospital transplant, expressed hope that this procedure could provide a solution for patients worldwide suffering from kidney failure.

"Our hope is that this transplantation will offer a lifeline to millions of patients across the globe who are suffering from kidney failure," he told AFP.

According to the scientific news agency Illustreret Videnskab, the surgical team burst into cheers when the transplanted kidney began producing urine immediately after the operation.

The patient had previously received a human kidney transplant. He agreed to undergo the surgical procedure not just for his benefit but also in the hopes that "it can create hope for thousands of people who need a transplant to survive," AFP reports.

The kidney for the transplant was supplied by the biotech company eGenesis.

Earlier Experiments with Pig Kidney Transplants

This is not the first instance of a pig kidney being transplanted into a human. However, previous cases involved brain-dead recipients.

The first pig kidney transplant took place in 2021 in a brain-dead man, and in September of last year, a pig kidney functioned for about two months in another brain-dead patient before being removed.

The long-term expectations for the new kidney's functionality remain unclear.

eGenesis has previously performed pig kidney transplants into monkeys. The monkeys had an average lifespan of 176 days post-transplant, with one case living for over two years, according to Reuters.

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