"You cannot stay in the laboratory forever"*: Taking pig kidney xenotransplantation from the laboratory to the clinic.EBioMedicine. 2021 Sep; 71:103562.E
Progress in life-supporting kidney transplantation in the genetically-engineered pig-to-nonhuman primate model has been encouraging, with pig kidneys sometimes supporting life for > 1 year. What steps need to be taken by (i) the laboratory team, and (ii) the clinical team to prepare for the first clinical trial? The major topics include (i) what currently-available genetic modifications are optimal to reduce the possibility of graft rejection, (ii) what immunosuppressive therapeutic regimen is optimal, and (iii) what steps need to be taken to minimize the risk of transfer of an infectious microorganism with the graft. We suggest that patients who are unlikely to live long enough to receive a kidney from a deceased human donor would benefit from the opportunity of a period of dialysis-free support by a pig kidney, and the experience gained would enable xenotransplantation to progress much more rapidly than if we remain in the laboratory.