A team of Chinese scientists have successfully transplanted organs from pigs to three monkeys in what could potentially prove to be a step forward in finding solutions to the global organ shortage.
Footage taken at the Xijin Hospital, which is run by China’s Air Force Medical University, shows the expert giving a check-up on a 10-year-old male rhesus monkey.
The primate is now the longest-surviving animal to have received a foreign liver through xenotransplantation, hospital director Li Xiaokang announced at a press conference.
Two other male macaques received a kidney and a heart. All the organs have been working perfectly inside the receivers’ bodies, according to the report.
But the eight-year-old heart recipient died after seven days, while the nine-year-old monkey with a porcine kidney lived just 24 hours following the three procedures performed on June 13.
A spokesperson for the hospital said the team used a genome-editing technique known as porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERV) knockout to perform the task.
The procedure could help humans live off organ transplants from pigs, potentially giving a solution to the current organ shortage.
Monkeys’ DNA is 94% identical to humans and so it is hoped down the line similar operations will be able to shift towards humans.