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The first patient to undergo a pig kidney transplant leaves the hospital: “Great feelings,” says a Brazilian doctor |  health

The first patient to undergo a pig kidney transplant leaves the hospital: “Great feelings,” says a Brazilian doctor | health

The American who performed the world's first successful transplant of a genetically modified pig kidney was released from hospital on Wednesday

Richard stated, in a post on social media, that he was living the moment he had wanted for many years. “Now this has become a reality and one of the happiest moments of my life,” he wrote.

The transplant was supervised by Brazilian doctor Leonardo Riela. The unprecedented surgery was performed on March 16 in a Boston hospital in the United States, where the specialist works.

In an interview with Globo newspaperRiella said she was emotional to see the patient discharged from the hospital.

“We worked for months to make the transplant a success. I think seeing him leave the hospital, being able to go home with his kidney working, was a great feeling,” he said.

The first transplant of a pig kidney to a living human – Photo: Massachusetts General Hospital

Richard Solomon was diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease. According to doctors, he suffers from type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, and has been undergoing dialysis for seven years.

The patient underwent a kidney transplant from another person in 2018, but the organ failed five years later. In 2023, he again relied on dialysis.

The waiting list to receive a kidney transplant is long. In Brazil alone, there are 30,000 patients. In the United States, where Richard lives, there are 100,000 people waiting.

A pig kidney transplant represents a milestone in medicine and a great achievement for people waiting for an organ.

How was the research conducted?

Watch the interview with Leonardo Riella, the Brazilian doctor who led the first pig kidney transplant to a human

searching for organ transplantIt is a transplant of an animal organ into a human, and it was developed five years ago by the hospital in partnership with eGenesis.

Transplantation of pig organs into humans has been studied for decades because of the similarity between animal and human organs. However, the biggest challenge was the response of the immune system, which can reject foreign tissue, a point worked on throughout the research.

In this process, pig genes that weakened the human body's response were removed and human genes were added. Furthermore, the scientists inactivated endogenous porcine retroviruses in the donor to eliminate any risk of infection.

During five years of research, several versions of genetic modifications were made until the version that could be transplanted into humans was found. But before that, the organs were tested on monkeys.

With the positive response, the team contacted the US Food and Drug Administration – the North American regulatory body – which approved the procedure.

A Brazilian doctor leads the first genetically modified pig kidney transplant – Photo: Arte/g1

How was the surgery performed?

After the US Food and Drug Administration approved this technology, doctors obtained the pig's kidney and performed the transplant.

During the press announcement, the Brazilian doctor highlighted the importance of the procedure using a genetically modified pig kidney.

He said, “I am firmly convinced that organ transplantation represents a promising solution to the organ shortage crisis.”

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