On March 31, Robert Montgomery, MD, DPhil, and a panel of xenotransplantation experts discussed the future of the field and the possibility of the first clinical trials starting soon. The discussion was part of STAT’s Breakthrough Science Summit, which featured luminaries at the intersection of health and science. The one-day summit took place in Manhattan.
Dr. Montgomery, the H. Leon Pachter, MD, Professor of Surgery, chair of the Department of Surgery, and director of the NYU Langone Transplant Institute, discussed the groundbreaking studies he led in fall 2021 to transplant a genetically modified pig kidney into recently deceased humans, but also the importance of developing an alternative supply of organs for nearly 800,000 people with end-stage kidney disease.
“I think the reason we’ve been in the nonhuman primate model for 30 to 40 years is just that. That the step into humans has been so encumbered with the idea that you have to get equipoise or some type of an equivalent outcome,” says Dr. Montgomery. “But to me it’s apples to oranges. What we’re really talking about is the organ shortage. We’re talking about the half of people who get listed [for a transplant] who die—that’s what we should be comparing this to, not to the success of the half that are lucky and get opportunity like myself and my brother to live.”
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