A team of researchers from New York University’s Langone Health Medical Center has performed their second successful experimental xenotransplantation of a genetically modified pig kidney into a human being. communicated the American academic entity.
The procedure, which is part of an ongoing study, took place in November in a lab from the medical center. As with their first xenotransplantation (transplantation of cells, tissues or organs between different species), carried out in September, the researchers turned to a pig kidney that lacked the alpha-gal gene. The organ was attached to the organism of a recently deceased person, who remained connected to a respirator.
“We have been able to repeat the results of the first transforming procedure to demonstrate the continuing promise that these genetically modified organs could be a renewable source of organs for many people around the world who are waiting for a life-saving gift, “said Professor Robert Montgomery, who led the transplant.
The alpha-gal gene, responsible for a immediate immune rejection of porcine organs by the human organism, was ‘deactivated’ in the donor pig. Besides, the thymus gland of the animal, responsible for ‘educating’ the immune system, was fused with the kidney before transplantation to prevent new immune responses from the human body.
The kidney was not placed in its usual position in the body, but rather left out of the abdomen, adhering it to the blood vessels of the upper leg. Later it was covered with a protective sheet, while the scientists made the respective observations and kidney tissue sampling for a total period of 54 hours.
Throughout the study, no signs of rejection by the human organism. In addition, urine output and creatinine levels (key indicators that a kidney that works properly) were normal and equivalent to what is observed in a human kidney transplant.
“We continue progressing with xenotransplantation by ‘knocking out’ a single gene, “Montgomery noted.” With additional studies and replications, this could be the way forward to save thousands of lives each year, “he concluded.
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