Pig Kidneys Transplanted to Human in Milestone Experiment

Experts predict that such nonhuman-to-human “xenotransplants” may become a viable option within the next decade

It’s an exciting time to be an organ transplant physician. Just two weeks ago, doctors in Baltimore reported completing the first successful transfer of a pig heart into a living human patient. Now pig kidneys might be just around the corner.

In late September 2021 a team of researchers transplanted a gene-edited pig’s two kidneys into the body of a person who had undergone brain death (the irreversible loss of all brain function) in a procedure designed to fully simulate clinical transplantation. Once inserted, the new kidneys sustained blood flow and even produced urine until the study ended 77 hours later. The results were published on Thursday in the American Journal of Transplantation.

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