The Future of Transplant Surgery

Sometime in the not-too-distant future, a patient will present to the transplant center for evaluation. A genetic profile will be taken. That information will be sent to a remote lab where the kidney is grown in a pig. The kidney has been genetically modified to fit that patient perfectly. 3-6 months later, the kidney is ready for transplant. The patient comes in as an elective procedure. No worries about rejection.

ACS Brief:

A 62-year-old state transportation department supervisor in Boston, Massachusetts, is the first patient to successfully receive a genetically modified porcine kidney transplant.

This medical milestone was performed in a 4-hour operation on March 16 at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), by a surgical team that included Tatsuo Kawai, MD, PhD, FACS, and Nahel Elias, MD, FACS.

Patient Richard Slayman had been suffering from diabetes and hypertension for many years and received a human kidney in 2018. The original transplant failed 5 years later, and Slayman subsequently developed complications, including congestive heart failure.

The kidney came from a special group of pigs bred to produce human-like kidneys, and researchers at Mass General Brigham, the parent organization for MGH, have been working with a biotech company to develop the right genetic animal donors for the transplant to work.

 

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