Doctors at NYU Langone Health successfully transplanted a pig’s kidney into a human patient. A breakthrough in the field of medicine that could save thousands of people waiting in line for organ donation.
The successful operation which was announced in a news conference on October 21 is an advancement that answers the scarcity of supply in life-saving organs. With her family's permission, the doctors attached the organ to the brain-dead woman who was already on artificial life support with no hope of recovering. The operation lasted for two hours at NYU Langone’s Kimmel Pavilion on September 25, according to details shared by the school. Subsequent to operation, the woman’s body was kept on under observation for 54 hours on a ventilator. In time urine production and creatinine levels — key indicators of a properly functioning kidney — were noticed and were normal. For the duration of the procedure until the observation, the body exhibited no signs of organ rejection. The organ used was from a pig that was configured to lessen the risk of rejection. Pigs became the focal point of this research since their organs are anatomically identical to human organs. NYU Langone Health considered this successful procedure as “a major step forward in potentially utilizing an alternative supply of organs for people facing life-threatening disease.” “This breakthrough represents new hope that the future will be different for my kids and for anyone waiting for a life-saving organ,” said surgery team leader Robert Montgomery, MD; a heart transplant recipient himself. “I know what it’s like to wait for an organ that may not come in time,” Montgomery said. "No one should die waiting.” he added. According to OrganDonor.gov, more than 106,000 men, women, and children are currently on the national transplant waiting list. “Nearly half of the patients waiting for a transplant become too sick or die before receiving one,” said Montgomery, the NYU surgeon. “The traditional paradigm that someone has to die for someone else to live is never going to keep up with the ever increasing incidence of organ failure.” Waiting time for a kidney can span from four months to six years as it may vary on blood type, geographic location, disease severity, immune system activity, and other significant elements. Doctors at NYU are looking forward to delve more into the procedure of using hearts, lung, and livers from bio-engineered pigs to aid humans needing transplants. Consequently, concerns revolving ethics will be questioned. Whether conducting experiments on other species is justifiable to supply our needs. A time where pigs of large quantity are raised to harvest their organs for human use. “Pigs aren’t spare parts and should never be used as such just because humans are too self-centered to donate their bodies to patients desperate for organ transplants,” the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, said in a statement.