Gene Editing

A Pioneer in Xenotransplantation, Leaving a Legacy of Hope

Main image to the post A Pioneer in Xenotransplantation, Leaving a Legacy of Hope

Lisa Pisano, a Pioneer in Xenotransplantation, Passes Away

Lisa Pisano, a 54-year-old woman who received a combined mechanical heart pump and gene-edited pig kidney transplant, passed away on Sunday. This news comes from NYU Langone Health, the hospital that performed the groundbreaking surgeries.

Pisano suffered from heart and kidney failure before the surgeries and was ineligible for a human transplant. She received the LVAD on April 4th and the pig kidney transplant on April 12th. However, in May, doctors removed the genetically engineered organ due to blood flow issues.

Despite the setback, Pisano's contributions to medicine, surgery, and xenotransplantation are significant. Dr. Robert Montgomery, director of the NYU Langone Transplant Institute, praised her courage and good nature, stating that her legacy as a pioneer will live on.

Before the procedures, Pisano faced severe limitations due to her failing heart and kidneys. She required dialysis and struggled with daily activities. However, she saw the opportunity for the experimental transplant as a chance to regain her quality of life.

Following the surgeries, Pisano reported feeling much better. Her story highlights the critical need for alternative organ sources, as over 100,000 people in the U.S. await transplants, with the majority waiting for kidneys.

Pisano's case marked the second instance of a gene-edited pig kidney transplant in a living person. This follows a similar procedure performed on 62-year-old Rick Slayman in March, who sadly passed away in May. However, his death was not attributed to the transplant.

Dr. Montgomery emphasizes that Pisano's bravery has brought hope to countless transplant patients, demonstrating the potential of xenotransplantation as a viable solution to the organ shortage. He believes that using pigs with minimal genetic modifications could be a sustainable and scalable approach to saving more lives.

Pisano's legacy will undoubtedly inspire further research and development in xenotransplantation, paving the way for a future where organ availability is no longer a barrier to life-saving treatment.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09