Connect with us

HEALTH NEWS

Pig Kidney works in human for 1st time

Published

on

Pig Kidney works in human for 1st time

A US medical team has succeeded in temporarily attaching a pig’s kidney to a person, a transplant breakthrough hailed as a “potential miracle” by the surgeon who led the procedure.

The surgery, carried out on September 25, involved a genetically modified donor animal and a brain dead patient on a ventilator whose family had given permission for the two-day experiment, for the sake of advancing science.

“It did what it’s supposed to do, which is remove waste and make urine,” Robert Montgomery, director of the transplant institute at New York University (NYU) Langone,.

Critically, the organ was able to reduce the level of the molecule creatinine, a key indicator of kidney health that was elevated in the patient prior to the transplant.

Montgomery carried out the surgery with several colleagues over the course of around two hours.

They joined the kidney to blood vessels on the top of one of the patient’s legs, so that they could observe it and take biopsy samples.

The patient had wanted to be an organ donor and their family was initially disappointed when told their loved one’s organs were not suitable, said Montgomery.

But “they felt a sense of relief that this was another opportunity for donation,” he said. The patient was taken off the ventilator and passed away following the 54-hour test.

Earlier research has shown that kidneys from pigs are viable in nonhuman primates for up to a year, but this was the first time it had been attempted with a human patient.

The donor pig belonged to a herd that had undergone a genetic editing procedure to knock out a gene that produces a particular sugar, which would otherwise have triggered a strong immune response and led to organ rejection.

The editing was performed by biotech firm Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics.

“It is still a question what would happen three weeks from now, three months, three years,” said Montgomery.

“The only way we’re really going to be able to answer that is to move this into a living human trial. But I think this is a really important intermediate step, which tells us that at least initially, things are probably going to be okay.”

He plans to submit the findings to a scientific journal in the next month, and says a clinical trial could take place in around a year or two.

The news was welcomed cautiously by outside experts, who nonetheless said they would like to see the peer-reviewed data before drawing firm conclusions.

“This news is a significant scientific achievement in the xenotransplantation field,” Hynek Mergental, a surgeon at the University of Birmingham in Britain said in a statement.

If confirmed, “it would be a major step forward in the organ transplant field that might solve the critical shortage of donor organs,” he added.

The news comes amid a dire shortage of transplant organs.

According to official US data, there are nearly 107,000 Americans awaiting an organ — 90,000 of whom need a kidney. Seventeen Americans die each day while waiting for an organ.

To meet demand, doctors have long been interested in so-called xenotransplantation, or cross-species organ donation, with experiments tracing back to the 17th century.

Early research focused on harvesting organs from primates — for example a baboon heart was transplanted into a newborn known as “Baby Fae” in 1984, but she survived only 20 days.

Today, pig heart valves are widely used in humans, and pig skin is grafted on human burn victims.

Pigs make the ideal donors because of their size, their rapid growth and large litters, and the fact they are already raised as a food source, said Montgomery.

For Montgomery, the research has a personal dimension: he himself was on a waitlist for a heart transplant, which he finally received two years ago.

The technique could one day provide a “renewable source of organs,” much like wind and solar provide sustainable energy, he said.

Continue Reading

HEALTH NEWS

Airborne transmission of Covid-19 random, social distancing alone not enough to control spread: Study

Published

on

By

A new study new study has shown that the airborne transmission of Covid-19 is highly random and suggests that social distancing alone is not effective in controlling its spread, reiterating the importance of vaccination and face masks.

“One part of the way that this disease spreads is virology: how much virus you have in your body, how many viral particles you expel when you speak or cough,” said Dr Shrey Trivedi, the Indian-origin first author of the study published in the journal ‘Physics of Fluids’ this week.

“But another part of it is fluid mechanics: what happens to the droplets once they’re expelled, which is where we come in. As fluid mechanics specialists, we like the bridge from virology of the emitter to the virology of the receiver and we can help with risk assessment,” explained Trivedi from the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge.

Continue Reading

HEALTH NEWS

France likely to announce Covid-19 booster shots for all adults: Report

Published

on

By

As per reports, France is expected to announce that Covid-19 booster shots will be made available to all adults, as well as stricter rules on wearing face masks and more stringent health pass checks to curb a new wave of infections.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government on Wednesday said it would focus on tougher social distancing rules and a faster booster shot programme and that it wanted to avoid the lockdowns being imposed once more by some other European countries.

Continue Reading

HEALTH NEWS

Air pollution linked to increased risk of getting sick from Covid-19: Study

Published

on

By

According to a study conducted in Spain, long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with an increased risk of developing Covid-19 among people who get infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The research, published in the journal Environment Health Perspectives on Wednesday, provides further evidence on the health benefits of reducing air pollution, and highlights the influence of environmental factors on infectious diseases.

“The problem is that previous studies were based on reported cases, which had been diagnosed, but missed all the asymptomatic or undiagnosed cases,” said study first-author Manolis Kogevinas from Barcelona Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain.

Continue Reading

Trending