US surgeons in NewYork say they have successfully given a pig’s kidney to a person in a transplant. The recipient was brain-dead, without hope of recovering. The kidney came from a pig that had been genetically modified to stop the organ being recognised by the body as “foreign” and being rejected. The surgery took a couple of hours and a big team participated. “It functioned normally, and did not appear to be undergoing rejection,” Dr Robert Montgomery said later, after transplant. The operation was made possible by the Nobel Prize-winning gene targeting discoveries of University of Utah researcher Mario Capecchi. Capecchi pioneered a technology known as “knockout mice” that revolutionized genetic and biomedical research.
Why a such operation was made ? There are many people on the waiting lists and no hope to solve their situation soon. In fact, about 40% of patients who are waiting for a transplant die before they receive one. Dr Maryam Khosravi, a kidney and intensive care doctor who works for the NHS in the UK, said: “Animal to human transplantation has been something that we have studied for decades now, and it’s really interesting to see this group take that step forward.” However, as specialists say, „there is still some way to go before transplants of this kind become an everyday reality” (the spokeperson for NHS Blood and Transplant). More research is needed and more time.