Health & Wellness

Good News: First Pig Kidney Transplant Humans Trial Successful

One amazing advancement in the field of medical research has taken place. Imagine the following scenario: a human has been successfully transplanted with a kidney from a pig. Although this seems like a storyline from a science fiction film, it’s actually a fact and a big step forwards for the organ transplantation field.

In This Article, we will discuss pig kidney transplant in humans in detail.

  1. Pig kidney Transplant in Humans
  2. Difference Between Pig Kidney and Human Kidney
  3. Pig Kidney Transplant Human Trials
  4. Pig Kidney Transplant to Human update

Pig kidney Transplant in Humans

Pig kidney transplant humans Trial

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Why a pig?” It’s interesting to note that pigs and humans have a lot in common anatomically and physiologically, which makes them suitable recipients for organ transplants. Furthermore, the large number of pigs may help to alleviate the present organ shortage problem.

The trials for this pig kidney transplant were conducted carefully. The scientists didn’t just select any pig. They used a genetically edited pig, with certain pig-specific features removed that could potentially cause complications in humans.

Difference Between Pig Kidney and Human Kidney

Pig and human kidneys have a few similarities, but they also have significant differences.

1. Function

Both pig and human kidneys have the same primary function: to filter waste and excess fluid from the circulation in order to produce urine. This keeps the body balanced and healthy.

2. Basic Structure

Pig and human kidneys have very similar structures. They both have nephrons, little filtering units that clean the blood.

3. Size and Shape

Pig kidneys are generally bigger and slightly different in form than human kidneys. This means that they may not fit appropriately within a human body, but surgeons may typically make changes during transplantation.

4. Anatomy

While the essential function is the same, the anatomy of pig and human kidneys may differ slightly. For example, the arrangement of blood vessels and other tissues may vary.

5. Immunological Differences

One of the major challenges in utilizing pig kidneys in humans is the potential for rejection. The human immune system is particularly capable of identifying and fighting alien tissues.

So, scientists must work hard to make pig kidneys compatible with the human body to lessen the risks of rejection.

Pig Kidney Transplant Human Trials

During the trial, doctors carefully selected patients who indeed required a new kidney and were willing to try something new. They then carefully treated the pig kidneys to ensure that the human body did not reject them. After that, it was time for the big moment transplant surgery.

And guess what? It went nicely. The patients who received pig kidneys are doing well thus far. Their bodies have accepted the new organs, and they are already feeling better.

Of course, much more testing needs to be done before pig kidney transplants become common. Scientists must ensure that they are safe and effective for all who require them. But this successful experiment is a really positive indication.

Pig Kidney Transplant to Human update

Richard “Rick” Slayman, 62, became the first person in the world to transplant a genetically modified pig kidney into his body successfully.

The pig kidney was given by eGenesis of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was transformed using CRISPR-Cas9 technology to improve compatibility with human bodies by deleting some pig genes and inserting human ones. Harvard Medical School physician-scientists performed this treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital.

1. Recovery and Transplant Details

Rick Slayman is recovering well with hopes that the new kidney will function for years, although the long-term results remain uncertain. The surgery took four hours, and the kidney started functioning immediately, producing urine and lowering Slayman’s creatinine levels significantly.

2. Importance of Organ Shortage and Health Disparities

This medical innovation has the potential to address the acute shortages of human organs for transplantation, as the demand far exceeds the available supply, resulting in many patients dying while waiting for a transplant.

It also offers promise for lowering disparities in health, especially among Americans, who are particularly affected by end-stage renal disease.

3. Genetic Modifications and Compatibility

The pig kidney used in the transplant came from a pig with a record 69 genomic edits. These modifications aimed to prevent rejection and reduce the risk of transmitting pig viruses to the human recipient.

The edits included the removal of genes responsible for sugars that trigger immune reactions and the addition of human genes to improve compatibility.

4. Xenotransplantation Research and Regulatory Approval

Xenotransplantation, the process of transplanting animal organs into humans, has been gaining momentum with advances in gene editing.

The transplant was made possible under the FDA’s compassionate-use protocol, which allows for emergency use in desperate patients. Researchers are pushing for further clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of this approach.


However, we have to control our excitement. Although this is a huge step forward, there is still a long journey ahead. More research and trials are needed to guarantee this method’s safety and efficacy. But for now, let us celebrate this tremendous achievement in medical research.

So, the next time you see a pig, wait to think of pork. Consider the enormous potential of these animals to save human lives. Isn’t it simply amazing?


  1. Pig kidney xenotransplantation: Progress toward clinical trials
  2. Physiological Aspects of Pig Kidney Xenotransplantation

Dr Maria

MD. Board Certified physician. Fellowship In Family Medicine UK. 8 years of medical experience in Lifestyle-related health disorders. Graduated from AIIMS – All India Institute Of Medical Science, INDIA

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