Transplantation Between Pigs And Humans

Although there may always be objections to the transplantation of animal organs into humans, it may be more acceptable to obtain organs from a species that is already being bred and killed for human use. Pigs are easy and inexpensive to breed and have many physiological similarities to humans. Furthermore, they attain adult weights comparable to humans, and so can provide large enough organs for any age of recipient. Unfortunately, immediately vascularized porcine organs are rapidly rejected by human and nonhuman primate recipients in a matter of minutes to hours. This process of (HAR) hyperacute rejection is mediated by naturally occurring, complement-fixing xenoreactive antibodies that bind to the pig vascular endothelium. HAR has become a major focus of xeno-transplantation research.

Clinical experience with organ transplantation between pigs and humans has been very limited. In 1968, in separate instances occurring on the same day, pig hearts were incorporated into the circulation of two patients who could not be

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