NEW YORK: Dozens of doctors and nurses silently lined the hospital hallway in tribute: For a history-making two months, a pig’s kidney worked normally inside the brain-dead man on the gurney rolling past them. The experiment came to an end on Wednesday as surgeons at NYU Langone Health removed the pig kidney and returned the donated body of Maurice “Mo” Miller to his family for cremation.
It marked the longest a genetically modified pig kidney has ever functioned inside a human, albeit a deceased one.
And by pushing the boundaries of research with the dead, the scientists learned critical lessons they’re preparing to share with the FDA – in hopes of eventually testing pig kidneys in the living.
Dr Robert Montgomery, the transplant surgeon who led the experiment, said, “Two months is a lot to have a pig kidney in this good a condition.
That gives you a lot of confidence for next attempts.” Montgomery, himself a recipient of a heart transplant, sees animal-to-human transplants as crucial to ease organ shortage.