Chinese researchers transplant gene-edited pig kidney into human body

A team led by Qin Weijun, a doctor at Xijing Hospital of the Air Force Medical University, performs a surgery to transplant a genetically modified pig kidney into a brain-dead recipient at the hospital in Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, March 25, 2024. /Xijing Hospital of the Air Force Medical University via Xinhua

A team led by Qin Weijun, a doctor at Xijing Hospital of the Air Force Medical University, performs a surgery to transplant a genetically modified pig kidney into a brain-dead recipient at the hospital in Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, March 25, 2024. /Xijing Hospital of the Air Force Medical University via Xinhua

Chinese researchers announced Wednesday that they have successfully transplanted a genetically modified pig kidney into a brain-dead person and it has been functioning for nine days, marking another breakthrough after a gene-edited pig liver was transplanted into a brain-dead person last month.

The latest transplant was guided by Dou Kefeng, an academician from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the surgery was performed by a team led by Qin Weijun, a doctor at Xijing Hospital of the Air Force Medical University, in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, on March 25.

During the operation, which lasted 6 hours and 15 minutes, the surgical team transplanted the gene-edited pig kidney into the brain-dead recipient’s right iliac fossa, according to Qin.

After removing the vessel blocking clamp, the transplanted kidney showed excellent perfusion and produced urine immediately. Intraoperative ultrasound showed good blood perfusion in the transplanted kidney, indicating that no hyperacute rejection occurred, he said.

The surgical plan was deliberated and approved by various academic and ethics committees, and carried out strictly in accordance with relevant national regulations. The family of the patient gave consent for the research to contribute to medical advancement.

In recent years, with the in-depth development of gene editing technology and immunology, xenotransplantation research has dramatically progressed, which may become an effective way to solve organ shortage, Qin said.

Qin said the research represents a critical step for xenotransplantation in China and will provide new options for patients with end-stage renal disease in the future.

On March 10, the hospital successfully transplanted a genetically modified pig liver into a brain-dead person. It functioned for 10 days before the study was terminated according to the wishes of the recipient’s family.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency