Gene-edited pig kidney keeps monkey alive for 2 years. Could it one day help transplant patients? – CBC

Kidneys were genetically engineered to reduce the risk of rejection by primates

Oct 12, 2023

People who need a kidney transplant may die before receiving a suitable match. But genetically engineered pig organs now show long-term survival in monkeys — a scientific advance that could some day help people waiting for a transplant.

In Wednesday’s issue of the journal Nature, Wenning Qin, a molecular biologist at the biotechnology company eGenesis in Cambridge, Mass., and her team report what she called a proof of concept for genetically engineered pig organs supporting life in monkeys.

Testing the organs in a non-human primate is a necessary step before a possible human clinical trial.

Mike Curtis, CEO of eGenesis, told reporters he views the pig organs as the only near-term, viable solution to humanity’s organ shortfall. “We just don’t have enough kidneys,” he said.

While identical twins are excellent organ matches for each other, most people needing organs can’t find a donated organ from someone with compatible genetics and must rely on immunosuppressive medications to ensure their body doesn’t reject it, said George Church, a genetics professor at Harvard Medical School and a pioneer in genome sequencing.

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