(ConservativeHub.com) – As of October 21, 106,726 individuals await an organ transplant, according to the Health and Human Services Department. A majority of those candidates are waiting for a kidney. Additionally, 1,809 individuals are waiting for a dual kidney/pancreas transplant. So far this year, surgeons have performed 31,361 transplants, and there’s currently a critical need for additional organs and donors. A new scientific advancement may provide a solution to the problem.
USA Today reported that a surgical team in New York successfully attached a kidney from a pig to a human being in September. The surgeons work as researchers at New York University’s Langone Health Center. Dr. Robert Montgomery, the head of Langone’s Transplant Institute, led the operation.
With family members’ consent, the team attached the organ to the upper thigh of a brain-dead patient kept alive using a ventilator. Continuing, Dr. Montgomery said they wanted to prove the procedure wouldn’t trigger an immune response. The genetically altered pig that Dr. Montgomery’s team used had Type O blood, making it a universal donor.
Warning: The following video contains graphic content.
The surgical team only tracked the subject’s response for 54 hours. Many questions remain regarding the future of pig-to-human transplants, along with significant regulatory hurdles the team will need to overcome.
On the plus side, breeders can quickly and easily raise pigs, and their organs are roughly the same size as those found in humans, making them a promising alternative for future transplants. Dr. Montgomery said he believes transplants from non-human creatures can provide a “good outcome in a human.”
One research scholar, Karen Maschke, told The Associated Press that this scientific breakthrough could raise ethical concerns. However, it’s worth noting that it could have huge implications for people in need of lifesaving transplants moving forward.
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