What is the Significance of the First Successful Test of a Pig-to Human Kidney Transplant?

Recently, a group of surgeons in New York city successfully attached a pig kidney to a human patient. This procedure has been tested on many other non-human mammals, but this particular experiment was the first time a human body didn’t reject the organ from a pig. Due to ethical reasons, the Kidney was kept on the body for only 54 hours (3 days). The human patient that the organ was tested on was brain-dead but kept alive on a ventilator. The family of the patient gave consent to the operation, and she was taken off life support after the procedure. Although we were able to take the first step into drastically expanding the “supply of life-saving organs,” the experiment is not complete, and there are many more steps to take before the organ of a pig can be confirmed to be safely transferred into a human body and function without faults. Millions of people all around the world lose their lives because they don’t have an organ donor, and if we manage to find a way to use the pig organs as a replacement for human organs, we can save so many more lives. Humanity will never be satisfied with the number of organs we are donated today, and this is the reason why pigs are used to test ways to us to supply the organs needed from other sources than humans. But why pigs? The reason for using pigs as the animal to get our replacement organs from is because their organs are “anatomically similar to human organs, and the animals can be bred in a highly controlled manner.” However, even if the pig’s organs are anatomically similar to those of humans, transplanting a different species of the organ into our bodies will cause our immune system to fight back. Without any adjustments made, such as inserting drugs that will weaken our immune system into our body, the organs will quickly turn black and fail to function.
Some also questioned if it was humane to breed and kill the pigs just because the humans are selfish and don’t want to donate their organs. To this, the scientists explain that there will never be enough donors and organs, and saving human lives are before anything, and with this method, we can save hundreds and thousands of lives, which is what makes this study so important to humanity.
Finally, to answer the initial questions, when the test on the human patient came out successful, the scientist was glad that they had confirmed their hypothesis, but there was so much scientific evidence supporting the fact that the test will not fail that they were not very impressed. However, this does not mean the test itself was not a significant step. It definitely helped the scientist figure out where they are with this testing and where they have to go to take more steps to come to the final results of being able to transplant pig kidneys and maybe even other organs into human patients.

Categories: Clinical