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Pig kidney transplant

US doctors have successfully transplanted a kidney from a pig to a human, without triggering rejection.

The surgery was the first successful organ transplant between pigs and humans, known as xenotransplantation, and was developed based on earlier transplants from pigs to monkeys.

Surgeons at NYU Langone Health, New York, USA, attached the pig kidney to a brain-dead patient and monitored its function for three days.

Pigs have a similar organ size to humans, making them a good candidate for organ transplant, however the kidneys produce a product which is harmful to humans, therefore the transplant animal was genetically modified to reduce the chances of organ rejection.

Lead investigator, Dr Robert Montgomery, said that though more research is needed it would give ‘new confidence that it's going to be all right to move this into the clinic’ which could mean reducing the current long waiting times of patients for organ transplants.

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