An NYU surgeon transplants an engineered pig kidney into the outside of a brain-dead patient (Joe Carrotta/NYU Langone Health)

'Xeno­trans­plan­ta­tion is com­ing': New NE­JM pa­per gives de­tailed look in­to 2 pig-to-hu­man kid­ney trans­plant cas­es

The thymokid­ney is a cu­ri­ous or­gan, if you could call it that. It’s a sort of Franken­stein­ian cre­ation — a sys­tem of pig thy­mus em­bed­ded un­der­neath the out­er lay­er of a pig’s kid­ney, made for hu­man trans­plan­ta­tion.

In the first case of pig-to-hu­man xeno­trans­plan­ta­tion of a kid­ney in­to a brain-dead pa­tient, the thymokid­ney qui­et­ly fea­tured front and cen­ter.

In that ex­per­i­ment, which took place in Sep­tem­ber of last year, NYU re­searchers led by Robert Mont­gomery su­tured a pig thymokid­ney on­to the leg of a brain-dead 66-year-old woman. That case was wide­ly re­port­ed on by a horde of ma­jor me­dia out­lets, in­clud­ing the New York Times, the BBC, and an in-depth fea­ture by USA To­day.

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