Grandmother Becomes Second Patient to Receive Kidney From Gene-Edited Pig

A severely ill 54-year-old woman earlier this month became the second person to receive a kidney transplanted from a genetically modified pig, surgeons at NYU Langone Health in New York announced on Wednesday.

The patient, who had both heart failure and kidney failure, was given the organ on April 12, just eight days after receiving a mechanical heart pump. Surgical teams at NYU Langone carried out the two procedures over the course of nine days.

The kidney recipient, Lisa Pisano, a native of New Jersey, was at risk of dying without the heart pump, a medical device used in patients who need a heart transplant.

The kidney came from a genetically engineered pig provided by United Therapeutics Corporation, a biotech company. The pig carried a gene for producing a sugar called alpha-gal that had been “knocked out,” or blocked.

NYU Langone Health studies have shown that removing the gene reduces the risk of a severe immune reaction in a patient, which can lead to the immediate rejection of an organ transplanted from an animal, a process called xenotransplantation.

The NYU Langone surgeons also placed the pig’s thymus gland, which can reprogram the patient’s immune system so it doesn’t reject the pig’s organ, under the transplanted kidney in order to reduce the likelihood of rejection.

Back to top button