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

Imagine being on the cutting edge of medical technology, where scientists are using gene-editing techniques to improve the lives of patients in desperate need. In a groundbreaking development, a 54-year-old grandmother recently became the second person to undergo a kidney transplant from a genetically modified pig. This revolutionary procedure took place at NYU Langone Health in New York, where surgeons implanted a mechanical heart pump in the patient before successfully transplanting the pig kidney. This remarkable feat offers hope to those suffering from heart and kidney failure, as it paves the way for future advancements in xenotransplantation.

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

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


In a groundbreaking medical achievement, a grandmother has become the second patient to receive a kidney transplant from a gene-edited pig. This groundbreaking procedure was performed by surgeons at NYU Langone Health, and it offers hope for those suffering from organ failure. In this article, we will delve into the background of the transplant, the process involved, the medical team and institution behind it, as well as provide an overview of the recipient and the genetically engineered pig.

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Description of the kidney transplant

The kidney transplant carried out at NYU Langone Health marks a significant milestone in the field of medicine. It involved the transplantation of a kidney from a genetically engineered pig into a severely ill patient. This procedure offers a promising solution to the shortage of human organ donors and provides hope to those in need of organ transplants.

Importance of the gene-edited pig in xenotransplantation

Xenotransplantation, the process of transplanting organs from one species to another, has long been explored as a potential solution to the shortage of human organs. However, the risk of severe immune reactions has hindered the success of this procedure. The use of gene-edited pigs has the potential to address this issue, as it allows for the removal or modification of genes that can trigger such reactions.

Overview of the patient’s medical condition before the transplant

The recipient of the kidney transplant, Lisa Pisano, was a 54-year-old woman suffering from heart and kidney failure. Her condition was severe and required immediate intervention. Without the transplant, she faced the risk of death. The integration of a mechanical heart pump prior to the transplant was essential in stabilizing her condition and preparing her for the surgery.

The Transplant Process

Date and location of the surgeries

The kidney transplant and the implantation of the mechanical heart pump took place at NYU Langone Health. The surgeries were carried out by a team of skilled surgeons over a period of nine days, with the kidney transplant being performed on April 12.

Details of the mechanical heart pump implantation

Before the kidney transplant, Lisa Pisano underwent the implantation of a mechanical heart pump. This device, used in patients awaiting heart transplants, provided critical support to her failing heart. During the nine-day period between the heart pump implantation and the kidney transplant, her condition was closely monitored and assessed to ensure she was stable and ready for the subsequent surgery.

Description of the kidney transplant procedure

The kidney transplant procedure involved the transplant of a kidney from a gene-edited pig into Lisa Pisano. Surgeons at NYU Langone Health ensured the successful connection of the new kidney to her existing urinary system. The transplant surgery was performed with great care and precision to maximize the chances of success and ensure the patient's well-being.

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

The Medical Team and Institution

Surgeons and medical staff involved in the transplant

The kidney transplant from the gene-edited pig was carried out by a team of highly skilled surgeons and medical staff at NYU Langone Health. Their expertise and dedication played a crucial role in the success of the procedure. The team worked tirelessly to ensure the highest level of patient care and safety.

Brief overview of NYU Langone Health

NYU Langone Health is a leading medical institution known for its innovative and cutting-edge treatments. The institution is renowned for its commitment to providing exceptional patient care and pushing the boundaries of medical advancements. The successful kidney transplant using a gene-edited pig is a testament to NYU Langone Health's expertise and dedication to improving healthcare.

The Kidney Recipient

Introduction and background of Lisa Pisano

Lisa Pisano, a native of New Jersey, became the second patient to receive a kidney transplant from a gene-edited pig. Her medical condition, which included heart and kidney failure, was critical and required urgent intervention. Lisa's journey serves as a testament to the potential of gene-edited pig transplants and the positive impact they can have on patients in need.

Discussion of her medical condition and risk of death

Prior to the transplant, Lisa Pisano faced the risk of death due to her heart and kidney failure. Her deteriorating health necessitated swift medical intervention. The integration of a mechanical heart pump, followed by the kidney transplant, was crucial in improving her chances of survival and offering her a new lease on life.

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

The Genetically Engineered Pig

Overview of United Therapeutics Corporation

United Therapeutics Corporation, a biotech company, played a pivotal role in providing the gene-edited pig for the kidney transplant. The corporation has been at the forefront of genetic engineering with a focus on xenotransplantation. Through their innovative work, they have paved the way for advancements in organ transplantation and an increased understanding of genetic modification.

Explanation of the gene-edited pig and the purpose of knocking out the alpha-gal gene

The gene-edited pig used for the kidney transplant was carefully engineered to remove a specific gene called the alpha-gal gene. The presence of this gene in organs transplanted from pigs can trigger severe immune reactions in human patients. Through the removal of this gene, the risk of rejection is significantly reduced, making the transplant more successful and increasing the patient's chances of recovery.

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of removing the gene in reducing immune reactions

The removal of the alpha-gal gene from the gene-edited pig offers numerous in the context of organ transplantation. By reducing immune reactions, the risk of immediate rejection is significantly diminished. This advancement brings hope to patients in need of transplants, as it increases the likelihood of successful organ integration and improves their overall quality of life.

Minimizing Rejection

Placement of the pig’s thymus gland

As part of the kidney transplant procedure, surgeons at NYU Langone Health placed the pig's thymus gland beneath the transplanted kidney. This strategic placement has been shown to reprogram the patient's immune system, reducing the likelihood of rejection. The integration of the pig's thymus gland is a crucial step in ensuring the success of the transplant and enhancing the patient's chances of a full recovery.

Explanation of the thymus gland’s role in reprogramming the immune system

The thymus gland plays a vital role in the development and maturation of T cells, which are essential components of the immune system. By placing the pig's thymus gland alongside the transplanted kidney, the patient's immune system undergoes a reprogramming process that allows for better acceptance and integration of the organ. This advancement in medical science brings hope to patients in need of transplants and offers a potential solution to the issue of organ rejection.

Efforts to reduce the likelihood of rejection

In addition to placing the pig's thymus gland, surgeons and medical staff at NYU Langone Health take additional measures to minimize the likelihood of rejection. This includes closely monitoring the patient's immune response, providing appropriate immunosuppressant medication, and adhering to strict post-transplant care protocols. By combining various , the medical team aims to maximize the success of the kidney transplant and ensure the patient's long-term health.

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

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Citation of the New York Times article: “Grandmother Becomes Second Patient to Receive Kidney From Gene-Edited Pig” by Roni Caryn Rabin, published on April 24, 2024.

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

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