With the world facing an organ shortage so serious that the majority of potential transplant recipients die while on waiting lists, doctors have looked to similarly sized animal organs as a potential alternative to human donations. Unfortunately, the human body swiftly rejects animal organs. Animal lungs have proven especially problematic, as they stop functioning as soon as they com in contact with human blood.
Now, researchers at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, have used genetically modified pig lungs to successfully pump human blood. Since pig organs are essentially the same size and shape as human organs, this advance could drastically increase the number of lungs available for transplant.