Sunday, June 23, 2024

Transplanted Pig Kidney Is Removed From Patient

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Surgeons removed the kidney of a genetically engineered pig from a critically ill patient last week after the organ was damaged by inadequate blood flow related to a heart pump that the woman had also received, according to officials at NYU Langone Transplant Institute.

The patient, Lisa Pisano, 54, who is still hospitalized, went back on kidney dialysis after the pig’s organ was removed. She lived with the transplanted organ for 47 days, Dr. Robert Montgomery, director of the institute, said. The kidney showed no signs of organ rejection.

“Lisa is in stable condition, and her left ventricular assist device is still functioning,” Dr. Montgomery said, referring to the heart pump. “We are hoping to get Lisa back home to her family soon.”

“Lisa is a pioneer and a hero in the effort to create a sustainable option for people waiting for an organ transplant,” he added.

In April, Ms. Pisano became the second person to receive a kidney transplanted from a genetically modified pig. Hers was an especially complicated case: She has heart failure and kidney failure, and received the organ just eight days after receiving a mechanical heart pump.

Ms. Pisano was at risk of dying without the heart pump, a device implanted in patients who need a heart transplant. But there is an acute shortage of human kidneys available from donors, and her heart disease made her ineligible to receive one.

She is the first patient with a heart pump known to have received an organ transplant of any kind, NYU Langone Health officials said. Patients with kidney failure are usually ineligible to receive a heart pump because of the high risk of death.

The first patient to receive a kidney from a genetically engineered pig was Richard Slayman, 62, who underwent the procedure in March at Mass General Brigham in Boston.

He was well enough to go home from the hospital two weeks after the surgery, but he suffered from complex medical problems and died within two months.

Great strides have been made in recent years in the transplantation of organs from animals into humans following such technological innovations as cloning and gene-editing.

The procedures are still experimental, however, and so far only patients who are so sick that they are not eligible for a human organ and may die without treatment have been cleared to receive animal organs.

The two transplants of pig kidneys this year were approved under the Food and Drug Administration’s compassionate use, or expanded access, program for patients with life-threatening conditions.

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