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Pig kidney continues to function in human more than a month after transplant

A pig's kidney continues to function 32 days after transplantation into a brain-dead human being, a record period that could contribute to resolving the shortage of organ donations, the responsible medical center said today.

The academic center of medicine NYU Langone, in New York, stressed, in a statement, that the 32 days represent “the longest period of functioning of a genetically modified pig kidney in a human being” and confirmed the intention to continue the experiment for more one month.

The transplant took place on July 14 in a 57-year-old man, Maurice Miller, who became brain dead and was placed on life support after his family agreed to donate his body for scientific research.

The doctors replaced their kidneys with the kidney of a genetically modified pig, so that the organ would not be immediately rejected by the human body, and they also transplanted the pig’s thymus, a gland with immune functions, whose role in the ongoing experiment is yet to be analyzed. .

The director of the Transplant Institute at NYU Langone, Robert Montgomery, stated that the biopsies and kidney tests do not show “signs of rejection” after 32 days and considered that the genetically modified pig kidney “replaces all the important functions performed by a human kidney”.

Maurice Miller’s sister, Mary Miller-Duffy, acknowledged that donating the body was “a very difficult decision to make”, but considered that he would have “been proud to help the lives of many people” with his death.

Animal-to-human organ transplants aim to solve the shortage of organ donations, the United States being a country with tens of thousands of patients on the transplant waiting list.

The New York institution performed the world’s first transplant of a pig kidney into a human being in September 2021, before a team from the University of Maryland, also in the United States, performed the first pig heart transplant on 07 January 2022, with the man, then aged 57, dying on March 9, 2022.

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