Groundbreaking experiment: pig kidney successfully functions inside brain-dead man for record two months.

In a groundbreaking experiment, a pig’s kidney successfully functioned inside a brain-dead man for two months at NYU Langone Health, marking a significant step in xenotransplantation research.

During this experiment, doctors and nurses paid tribute by lining the hospital hallway as the gurney carrying the body of Maurice “Mo” Miller, who had a pig’s kidney inside him, passed by.

This achievement is a milestone in the field of xenotransplantation, as previous attempts had been met with challenges related to the immediate rejection of foreign animal tissue by the human immune system.

The experiment involved a genetically modified pig kidney, designed to be more humanlike. While some previous experiments in deceased bodies had avoided immediate immune attacks, they didn’t address a common form of rejection that takes longer to develop. The attempt to save a man with a pig heart last year had limited success.

In this case, the medical team maintained Miller’s body on a ventilator for two months to assess how the pig kidney functioned. They discovered that after an initial period of success, the kidney exhibited signs of subtle rejection, which they successfully treated by adjusting immune-suppressing medicines.

The experiment provided valuable insights, including the compatibility of the pig kidney with human hormones, the ability to excrete antibiotics, and medicine-related side effects. However, it is essential to note that experiments in deceased bodies may not perfectly predict how the organs will function in living recipients.

Xenotransplantation research aims to address the organ shortage crisis, with over 100,000 people on the national waiting list for organ transplants, primarily kidney transplants.

This groundbreaking experiment offers hope and critical lessons for the future of organ transplantation, with researchers preparing to share their findings with the Food and Drug Administration in the pursuit of eventually conducting pig kidney transplants in living patients.