Successful Transplant of Pig Kidney to Brain-Dead Human Maintained on Ventilator Opens Door to New Supply of Critically Needed Organs; Effort Termed “Transformative Moment in Organ Transplantation”

The first investigational transplant of a genetically engineered, nonhuman kidney to a human body was recently completed at New York University (NYU) Langone Health—marking a major step forward in potentially utilizing an alternative supply of organs for people facing life-threatening disease. Known as xenotransplantation, the surgery was performed on Saturday, September 25, 2021, at NYU Langone’s Kimmel Pavilion. Robert Montgomery, MD, DPhil, the H. Leon Pachter, MD, Professor of Surgery and Chair of the Department of Surgery at NYU Langone and Director of the NYU Langone Transplant Institute, led a surgical team during the two-hour operation. The kidney was obtained from a genetically engineered pig hundreds of miles away and transplanted into a brain-dead donor. The donor was maintained on a ventilator, with the consent of the family, for 54 hours while doctors studied the kidney’s function and watched for signs of rejection.

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