Organ transplant has been a serious medical predicament affecting people all over the globe.
Millions of people are on various organ transplant lists waiting for a matching donor. Some have died while on the waiting list and others are clinging desperately towards the hope of a donor. Therefore, a scientific breakthrough in this area will be a huge win.
Recently, the kidney of a genetically modified pig was transferred into a human body. The kidney was functional for 54 hours. Good gracious! This new feat is likely to usher in more research that might result in a more accessible source of organs.
On the subject of genetically modified pigs, Dr Robert Montgomery the director of the N.Y.U. Langone Transplant Institute in Manhattan, USA, accords that they
could potentially be a sustainable, renewable source of organs.”Source: The New York Times,
Not too long ago, some surgeons in New York obtained consent from the family of a brain dead patient being sustained on a ventilator to transfer the kidney of a pig into the body and make observations of the kidney’s function.
Reportedly, this surgery is the first of its kind. The transplanted pig’s kidney functioned adequately in the human body for 54 hours. This success can open the door for further research that might lead to more accessible organs.
For a long time, scientists have strived to develop organs in pigs that will be acceptable to the human body. Today, due to the wider scope of technology and cloning, it appears this objective might shortly be a reality.
Why the Organs of Pigs?
You might be wondering why pigs of all animals. Well, research has shown that the organs of pigs and their blood are similar to that of humans.
In the coming years, more surgeries to test the suitability of the organs of pigs in the human body are likely to be conducted.
Public Opinion the Subject
Regardless of the impacts of these trials on scientific breakthroughs, there is a debate on how ethical it is to conduct these procedures on human beings.
With that notwithstanding, professionals in the field have described this experimental surgery as a milestone. Though not involved in the research, Dorry Segev, a professor of transplant surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine has this to say about the research;
“This is a huge breakthrough… It’s a big, big deal.”
If this milestone is achieved there will be steady organs ranging from hearts, kidneys, livers lungs and others for patients in need of transplants. A massive medical victory.
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