Researchers have transplanted a genetically modified pig kidney into a human without triggering the patient's immune system, Reuters reports. It adds that this work could be a step toward addressing the shortage of organs available for transplant.
As Reuters notes, pig organs typically generate an immune response in people, but in this case, the researchers used an organ from a pig that was genetically altered to lack the glycan that sparks rejections. This GalSafe pig, developed by Revivicor, part of United Therapeutics, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in December 2020, it adds.
Researchers at New York University transplanted the GalSafe organ into a brain-dead patient with the family's consent, Reuters says. The researchers tell it that the kidney made the expected amount of urine, the patient's creatine levels returned to normal, and there were no signs of rejection.
"It had absolutely normal function," Robert Montgomery, who led the NYU team, tells the Associated Press. "It didn't have this immediate rejection that we have worried about."