(NEW YORK) — Surgeons transplanted a pig’s kidney into a brain-dead man and for over a month it’s worked normally — a critical step toward an operation the New York team hopes to eventually try in living patients.
Scientists around the country are racing to learn how to use animal organs to save human lives, and bodies donated for research offer a remarkable rehearsal.
The latest experiment announced Wednesday by NYU Langone Health marks the longest a pig kidney has functioned in a person, albeit a deceased one — and it’s not over. Researchers are set to track the kidney’s performance for a second month.
“Is this organ really going to work like a human organ? So far it’s looking like it is,” Dr. Robert Montgomery, director of NYU Langone’s transplant institute, told The Associated Press.
“It looks even better than a human kidney,” Montgomery said on July 14 as he replaced a deceased man’s own kidneys with a single kidney from a genetically modified pig — and watched it immediately start producing urine.
The possibility that pig kidneys might one day help ease a dire shortage of transplantable organs persuaded the family of the 57-year-old Maurice “Mo” Miller…