Boost in Funding
“Although we have a highly successful kidney transplant program, we’ve been limited — like other medical institutions — by the shortage of available human donor organs. Hopefully, xenotransplantation will soon be able to join other strong efforts at Johns Hopkins to address this challenge, such as our nondirected [altruistic] and directed [designated recipient] living donor programs.”
—Andrew Cameron, surgeon-in-chief and director of the Department of Surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, commenting on $21.4 million in funding recently awarded to him and Johns Hopkins surgeon Kazuhiko Yamada under two sponsored research agreements with biotechnology company United Therapeutics Corp.
The agreements will support preclinical studies (animal and laboratory), conducted in collaboration with United Therapeutics, to advance the use of genetically modified pigs — whose kidneys are more compatible for transplantation into humans than non-modified animals — enabling a reduced risk of immune system attack, better avoidance of organ rejection and failure, and increased chances for a recipient’s long-term survival with the xenograft.