World News

Scientists successfully attach pig kidney to human

Scientists recently tested a new method of providing organs to sick people where a genetically modified pig kidney was successfully attached to a human for the first time, according to a New York Times report. The kidney was connected outside of the patient’s body and functioned correctly for the 54-hour observation period — the recipient’s immune system did not reject the transplanted organ.

Scientists grew the kidney in a genetically engineered pig, designed not to produce a sugar known as alpha-gal, which the human immune system attacks. The kidney was attached to a brain-dead patient kept alive on a ventilator — whose family had agreed to the experimental procedure — and her body did not immediately reject the organ.

“There didn’t seem to be any kind of incompatibility between the pig kidney and the human that would make it not work,” NYU Langone Transplant Institute director Robert Montgomery said.

“A lot of kidneys from deceased people don’t work right away, and take days or weeks to start. This worked immediately. This technology could offer a lifeline to patients on transplant waiting lists — of which there are more than 100,000 in the US — through a stable supply of organs from pigs.

Many questions remain unanswered, as organ rejection can occur after several years, even if the donor and recipient are ideal matches.

There are also significant ethical considerations surrounding the growing of organs in animals to be transplanted into humans.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) rejected the treatment as a potential alternative to traditional organ transplants. Pigs aren’t spare parts and should never be used as such just because humans are too self-centred to donate their bodies to patients desperate for organ transplants,” PETA said. Despite this, several experts in the field of medicine have commended the surgery. This is a huge breakthrough,” said Dorry Segev, professor of transplant surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Source: mybroadband

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