Surgeons at NYU Langone Health successfully managed to transplant a kidney grown in a genetically altered pig to a human in September.
The organ functioned normally, but the test was short-lived: the human patient was brain-dead, and the organ, which was kept outside her body, was monitored for just 54 hours. Dr. Robert Montgomery, who headed up the transplant, says that upon being attached to the patient’s blood vessels, the kidney started doing its job, producing urine and creatinine “almost immediately.” And that was particularly good because, as Montgomery notes,
A lot of kidneys from deceased people don’t work right away, and take days or weeks to start. This worked immediately.
Reactions to the news swing both ways, with some surgeons saying such transplants are a long way off and others predicting genetically engineered pigs’ kidneys could be ready for human use in months.