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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Pigs and man. Closer than you know.


I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” 

 Winston Churchill

My late father had a heart valve replacement around twenty years ago. I was surprised that the valve came from a pig. We were talking about it, and he mentioned the valve cost 17K. My response was, "DAMN! I'd hate to see how much a ham sandwich cost from the animal."

Now I know this was not an animal from the ranch down the highway, but a specially bread animal. Hey, it saved his life, and gave him a few more good years. I've been a registered organ donor for ages, and encourage everyone to do the same. Hey, you don't need them after you pass.

Now I saw this article in the paper a few days ago, and I gotta say I'm happy this could be an option for people in the future. 

Pig kidneys implanted in a brain-dead patient

Surgeons at the University of Alabama at Birmingham reported Thursday that they had for the first time successfully transplanted kidneys from a genetically modified pig into the abdomen of a 57-year-old brain-dead man.

The announcement was the latest in a series of remarkable feats in organ transplantation. Earlier this month, surgeons at the University of Maryland transplanted a heart from a genetically modified pig into a 57-year-old patient with heart failure. That patient is still alive and under observation.

In September, surgeons at NYU Langone Health attached a kidney from a genetically modified pig to a brain-dead individual who was being maintained on a ventilator. Although it remained outside the body, the kidney worked normally, making urine and creatinine, a waste product.

The UAB surgery was reported in the American Journal of Transplantation, the first time a pig-to-human organ transplantation has been described in a peer-reviewed medical journal...

That's nothing short of incredible. Replacement of the heart with a pig organ, and hopefully this eases the shortage of organs we have. 

More than 500,000 Americans have end-stage kidney disease and depend on dialysis. A transplant is the best treatment for kidney failure, but an acute shortage of donor organs leaves that option out of reach for the vast majority of patients.

More than 90,000 people were on waiting lists for a kidney as of last summer. The wait can be long: Fewer than 25,000 kidney transplants are done in the United States each year, and more than a dozen people on the waiting list die each day.

Well, if people could sell their organs, that will ease that shortage. If the family could sell the kidneys, livers, heart, eyes, etc of their their deceased loved one, it will help countless people. And the bureaucracy that manages organ transfers, etc, will not have a choke hold on the supply. Remember, telephone service was do much better with Ma Bell, right? 

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