22 minutes | Apr 22, 2022

Pig kidneys in humans? Xenotransplantation explained.

From the invention of the dialysis machine to the first successful kidney transplant, science has come a long way in extending life for kidney patients. Is transplantation between humans and animals the next step? In this episode, you will hear from a doctor behind the first successful transplant of a human receiving a pig kidney and where the science can take us from here.

We dedicate this episode to the Parson Family, who made the selfless decision to delay their grieving process and permit the doctors at the University of Alabama to maintain Jim Parsons’ body functioning on a ventilator so this scientific and medical breakthrough could be possible.


In this episode, you will hear from:

Jayme Locke, MD, MPH

Dr. Locke is an abdominal transplant surgeon at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who specializes in innovative strategies for the transplantation of incompatible organs, disparities in access to and outcomes after solid organ transplantation, and transplantation of HIV-infected end-stage patients. Her research interests include complex statistical analysis and modeling of transplant outcomes and behavioral research focused on health disparities.

Dr. Locke is an Associate Editor for Transplantation and is a regular peer reviewer for several journals, including the American Journal of Transplantation and the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology to name a few. She is an invited member of the ASTS Providing Better Access to Organs Task Force and Diversity Affairs Committee, the AST Kidney-Pancreas Committee, The Transplantation Society Young Member Committee, and the United Network for Organ Sharing Pediatric Transplant Committee. Dr. Locke is the recipient of numerous honors and has most recently received the American Transplant Congress Young Investigator Award, the Birmingham Business Journal’s Top 40 under 40 Award, and was named one of AL.com’s 2015 Women Who Shape the State. 


Jessica Washington

Jessica Washington is an NKF patient advocate who was diagnosed with stage 2 kidney disease in 2019 after being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease. She works in the software industry as a Data Analyst and also enjoys freelance writing, in particular sports writing, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. She has been extremely motivated to advocate for the National Kidney Foundation to help others fight for better understanding, awareness, support, early detection and anything else she can do to make it easier for so many out there dealing with this disease.


More information:

How Genetically Altered Pigs Could Help Kidney Transplantation

Episode Transcript

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