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Man Who Received Pig Kidney Transplant in Brain-Dead State Still Alive After One Month


A groundbreaking achievement in xenotransplantation has been made by researchers at NYU Langone Health in New York, who successfully transplanted a genetically modified pig kidney into a recently deceased person. The patient, Maurice Miller, has been kept on life support and has shown no signs of rejection or infection for over a month.

The Procedure

The transplant took place on July 14th, where NYU Langone Health’s Robert Montgomery and his team performed the procedure on Maurice Miller, a 57-year-old man declared brain dead after complications from a brain tumor biopsy. Miller’s family agreed to the experimental procedure as he was unable to donate his organs due to his aggressive form of brain cancer.

Advancements in Reducing Rejection

To minimize the risk of rejection, the pig kidney used in the transplant was specially bred to lack a gene that produces a carbohydrate called alpha-gal. Additionally, the researchers also transplanted the pig’s thymus into Miller, which helps the immune system differentiate between self and foreign cells. Miller received immune-suppressing medications to further reduce the risk.

Positive Results

Immediately after the transplant, the pig kidney began functioning and producing urine. Over the course of 32 days, Miller’s blood levels remained within the normal range, indicating proper kidney function. Biopsies of the transplanted organ showed no signs of rejection, suggesting successful integration.

Addressing Concerns

Previous concerns about the transmission of viruses through xenotransplantation have been raised after the death of a patient who received a genetically modified pig heart. However, Montgomery and his team have been using a more sensitive test to detect viruses and have not found any signs of infection in Miller so far.

Continuation of the Study

The study will continue to monitor Miller’s kidney for another month to ensure long-term success. After two months, a critical period where most non-human primates reject pig organs will have passed, allowing the researchers to consider early clinical trials.

Potential Solution to Organ Shortage

Xenotransplantation offers promise as a solution to the shortage of organ donors, as there are currently over 100,000 people in the US waiting for organ transplants, with 17 deaths occurring each day. This groundbreaking success opens up possibilities for future organ transplants from genetically modified animals to humans.

A Tribute to Maurice Miller

Maurice Miller’s sister, Mary Miller Duffer, expressed her belief that her brother would be proud to know that his tragic death has helped save lives. The decision to proceed with the pig kidney transplant was made easier for Mary, as their youngest brother had died from kidney disease at a young age.

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