The Next Steps in Xenotransplantation

Gene-editing company eGenesis is now carrying out experiments to help solve a critical shortage of human organs available for transplant, by testing pig organs in monkeys.

Doctors have dreamed for decades of using pigs to solve the organ shortage by transplanting their kidneys, hearts, and even lungs into human patients to replace organs that have stopped working. Right now, more than 100,000 Americans are waiting on transplant lists.

In the last few years scientists have achieved some major milestones toward such “xenotransplantation.” Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have kept pig hearts beating inside baboons (alongside the monkey’s own heart) for about two years, and German surgeons reported late last year that several baboons had survived for about six months after their hearts were swapped with one from a pig.

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