Someday, we might see pigs replace humans as human organ donors. The process called xenotransplantation, transplanting organs from one species to another, has the greatest opportunity to work between humans and pigs. The future might see pigs that are genetically altered becoming potential organ donors for humans in need, especially for organs such as kidneys, livers, and hearts.

genetically modified pigs the future of organ transplants, how close are we to using pigs for a limitless supply of organs to solve the global shortage? : Futurology

2022-04-02 17:25:21

Xenotransplantation has always felt like the next big thing in transplant medicine. There’s no doubt a series of landmark operations have been performed, but only more research will tell us whether the field – and its grand dreams – will ever come of age.

Transplant surgeon Dr Jayme Locke explained: “Our goal would be to have one 10-gene edited pig be able to save a patient with kidney failure, a patient with liver failure, a patient with heart failure and a patient with end-stage lung disease. That would be a remarkable accomplishment and I genuinely believe that we will be there during my lifetime.”

In October 2021, Surgeons in New York City successfully attached a pig kidney to a human patient and watched the pinkish organ function normally for 54 hours. While such procedures have been done in non human primates, this is the first time that a pig kidney has been transplanted to a human body and not been immediately rejected. The procedure, marks progress toward the goal of drastically expanding the supply of life-saving organs. Millions of people around the world are waiting for donated organs, many of which never come.

“We’re never going to satisfy the organ shortage problem with human organs,” says John Scandling, a nephrologist at Stanford University who wasn’t involved in this research. “There’s a limit to the number of deceased donor organs that are viable,” and too few donations from living people.


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