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What people should know as US surgeons performed first pig-to-human kidney transplant

Several notable breakthroughs have been recorded in medical science this year the most recent of which is the first pig to human kidney transplant. The operation which was carried out by US surgeons at the New York University Langone Health medical centre reportedly took about two hours. As this is a huge achievement that will benefit the society, here is what people should know about the procedure. 

Image Credit: BBC

While many people have been wondering why the transplant had to involve animals, it is important to note that there is a high demand for a kidney transplant in people with kidney disease to replace their nonfunctional kidneys. Although the kidneys can come from deceased or living donors, the urgent demand for kidney far exceeds availability hence the need for an alternative.

(Image source: TechUnwrapped)

In times past, organ transplants from one specie to a different specie have often failed because the recipient's body tends to reject the donor's organ. This was however addressed through genetic modification of the pig in a way to stop the organ being recognised by the body as foreign and being rejected.

Why involve pig in such transplant?

Pigs are known to have a number of anatomic and physiologic similarities to humans in different systems. This is probably why many scientists are of the opinion that if a something works in pig, then it has a high possibility of working in human. 

According to a claim, more than 40% of those waiting for a kidney transplant die before they could not see a donor. This recent advancement will however go a long way in providing a vast supply of kidneys for severely ill patients. More observations are still being carried out about the procedure as health experts are worried about the longevity of the organ. 

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