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Pig kidney transplant avoids immediate rejection

Discussion in 'Physical & Life Sciences' started by jayem, Oct 24, 2021.

  1. jayem

    jayem Naturalist

    In an experiment at NYU, a transplanted kidney from a genetically modified pig functioned normally for 3 days, without triggering immediate rejection. The recipient had been declared dead by neurologic criteria, but with the family’s consent, was maintained on life support for the duration of the experiment.

    U.S. surgeons successfully test pig kidney transplant in human patient

    It’s been postulated for some time that xenotransplantation (use of non-human animal organs) could possibly maintain a patient until a human organ was available. Pigs are good donor candidates, since their organs are very similar in size and anatomy to our own. The big problem is that the organs of non-primate mammals express a carbohydrate—galactose alpha 1,3 galactose (AKA, alpha-gal) on their cell membranes. Which triggers an intense immediate rejection response in an xenotransplant recipient. The donor animal came from a herd of pigs genetically modified to lack the alpha-gal antigen. That’s why no evidence of hyperactive rejection after 3 days is very significant. (Longer term rejection remains an issue.)

    I know this experiment seems creepy. But assuming the recipient’s family gave fully informed consent, valuable and potentially life-saving information was obtained. Though I don’t know if the pig gave consent. :oldthumbsup:
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2021
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  2. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting The Librarian Supporter

    United States
    I wish we repurposed the Kidney donor as well.

    Last edited: Oct 24, 2021
  3. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    I doubt it. From personal experience, I can attest to the ironic fact, that government agencies and government supported agencies are funny that way. They can be corrupt as get out, but still be careful to avoid all possible appearance of impropriety at the lower levels, by policy.

    For example, I have seen how a cow that was injured during transportation to a sale, though still alive and otherwise healthy, was destroyed and discarded, even though already at the sale at the time. The same happened to a sow who had to be killed in order to save her litter of pigs by Caesarean section. Nothing else was wrong with her, but she was not allowed to be used for meat, though the whole swine operation was about growing and selling the meat. These happened at a prison farm where I was employed as maintenance supervisor on the farm section. Big boar hogs in sexual frenzy usually foam at the mouth, and are generally in a nasty disposition at being told what direction to go, not to mention that they are capable of going pretty much wherever they please. One prisoner on the swine crew was not careful, got slashed in the calf of his leg, and the $2000+ (stud-worthy) boar hog had to be documented as destroyed and properly discarded, because the news might conclude it was rabid.
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