Pig kidney successfully transplanted into 62-year-old in US

A pig kidney has been successfully transplanted into a living human, a United States hospital announced on Thursday.

Massachusetts General Hospital said the genetically-edited pig kidney was transplanted into a 62-year-old man living with end-stage kidney disease.

Surgeons from the Mass General Transplant Centre conducted the four-hour surgery on Saturday.

The procedure marked a major milestone in the quest to provide more readily available organs to patients, the hospital said.

Mass General Brigham Chief Executive Officer Anne Klibanski said that researchers and clinicians were pushing the boundaries of science to transform medicine.

“Nearly seven decades after the first successful kidney transplant, our clinicians have once again demonstrated our commitment to providing innovative treatments and to also help ease the burden of disease for our patients and others around the world.’’

The operation was a milestone in xenotransplantation – transplantation of organs or tissues from one species to another as a potential solution to the worldwide organ shortage,” the hospital said.

The kidney came from a pig that was genetically-edited to remove harmful pig genes and add certain human genes to improve its compatibility with humans.

Scientists also inactivated porcine endogenous retroviruses in the pig donor to eliminate any risk of infection in humans.

The patient is said to be recovering well and expected to be discharged from the hospital soon.

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