The kidney made “the amount of urine that you would expect” from a transplanted human kidney, Egli ha detto, and there was no evidence of the vigorous, early rejection seen when unmodified pig kidneys are transplanted into non-human primates.
The recipient’s abnormal creatinine level — an indicator of poor kidney function — returned to normal after the transplant, Ha detto Montgomery.
In the United States, quasi 107,000 people are presently waiting for organ transplants, compreso più di 90,000 awaiting a kidney, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. Wait times for a kidney average three to five years.
Researchers have been working for decades on the possibility of using animal organs for transplants, but have been stymied over how to prevent immediate rejection by the human body.
Montgomery’s team theorized that knocking out the pig gene for a carbohydrate that triggers rejection — a sugar molecule, or glycan, called alpha-gal — would prevent the problem.
The genetically altered pig, dubbed GalSafe, was developed by United Therapeutics Corp’s Revivicor unit. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in dicembre 2020, for use as food for people with a meat allergy and as a potential source of human therapeutics.
Medical products developed from the pigs would still require specific FDA approval before being used in humans, ha detto l'agenzia.
Other researchers are considering whether GalSafe pigs can be sources of everything from heart valves to skin grafts for human patients.
The NYU kidney transplant experiment should pave the way for trials in patients with end-stage kidney failure, possibly in the next year or two, said Montgomery, himself a heart transplant recipient. Those trials might test the approach as a short-term solution for critically ill patients until a human kidney becomes available, or as a permanent graft.
The current experiment involved a single transplant, and the kidney was left in place for only three days, so any future trials are likely to uncover new barriers that will need to be overcome, Ha detto Montgomery. Participants would probably be patients with low odds of receiving a human kidney and a poor prognosis on dialysis.
“For a lot of those people, the mortality rate is as high as it is for some cancers, and we don’t think twice about using new drugs and doing new trials (in cancer patients) when it might give them a couple of months more of life,” Ha detto Montgomery.
The researchers worked with medical ethicists, legal and religious experts to vet the concept before asking a family for temporary access to a brain-dead patient, Ha detto Montgomery.