Brain-dead human receives first transplant of genetically altered pig kidney from UAB
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The University of Alabama at Birmingham announced Thursday that they had successfully completed the first clinical grade transplant of a genetically altered pig kidney into a human who had been declared brain dead.
The transplant is a major milestone in world medicine.
More than 800,000 Americans are living with kidney failure. Most never make it to the waiting list, and there are not enough human organs available to meet the need.
This transplant is the first time a pig-to-human organ transplantation has been described in a peer-reviewed medical journal. The first time a UAB developed test of compatibility before a xenotransplant (live cells, tissues, or organs from a nonhuman animal source) has been confirmed and the first peer-reviewed study to establish brain death as a viable preclinical human model.
The kidneys were taken from pigs that had been genetically modified to make them more suitable for human compatibility. Once they had been transplanted, the kidneys filtered blood, produced urine and, importantly, were not immediately rejected. The kidneys remained viable until the study was ended, 77 hours after transplant.
The recipient was 57-year-old Jim Parsons of Huntsville.
Doctors are hopeful that Parsons and his family have contributed greatly to the advancement of science and, hopefully, will impact the more than 90,000 people in the U.S. on the kidney transplant waiting list in the very near future.
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