Doctors successfully performed an animal-to-human kidney transplant for the first time, possibly for the first time in medical history. The 54-hour surgical procedure to transplant a pig’s kidney into a brain-dead human was performed by Robert Montgomery, a transplant surgeon from New York. New York University Langone Health in New York City performed the procedure. The research has yet to be peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal.

The kidney was connected to blood vessels in the patient’s upper leg that were located outside the abdomen. So, according to Dr. Robert Montgomery, who successfully performed the surgery, the organ started producing urine and the waste product creatinine nearly instantly. They used a genetically modified pig whose tissues were devoid of a molecule that causes near-instant rejection.

According to a survey conducted in the United States, over 100,000 people are on transplant waitlists, with 90,240 patients requiring a kidney transplant. Every day, approximately twelve people die as a result of being on the waiting list.

Genetically modified pigs, according to Dr. Montgomery, have the potential to be a sustainable, renewable source of organs — the solar and wind of organ availability. He said it looked exactly like any other living donor transplant he’d ever done. Many recently deceased people’s kidneys do not work right away, and it can take days or even weeks for them to start working.

Despite the fact that the organ had not been implanted in the body, problems with xenotransplantation from primates and pigs usually arise at the point where human blood flows through pig vessels and interacts with the human blood supply. The fact that the organ worked outside the body, according to Dr. Montgomery, is a clear indication that it will work inside the body.

Montgomery had a human heart transplant three years ago, thanks to a hepatitis C donor who was willing to accept any organ.

The pigs are missing a gene that produces alpha-gal, a sugar that causes a rapid immune response in humans. United Therapeutics Corp’s Revivicor unit created the genetically modified pig, dubbed GalSafe. It was given the green light by the United States. The Food and Drug Administration will approve it as a meat-free food and a potential source of human therapeutics in December 2020. According to the FDA, medical products derived from pigs may still require FDA approval before being used in humans.

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