Image copyright PA Image caption A pig kidney donation is seen as potentially giving ‘millions of Chinese people new hope’
A pig kidney donation has been successfully transplanted on a woman in China – the first of its kind.
The 26-year-old was previously waiting for a kidney from a living donor but the organ did not become available, state media say.
Now the company behind the procedure, Hangzhou Fulen, said it would start a test on pigs with living donors.
As well as kidney failure, Chinese kidneys are also said to be prone to foreign contamination.
Hangzhou Fulen said the operation took place on Tuesday at a local hospital.
Mr Cao, who was the biological father of the woman undergoing the operation, told the official Xinhua news agency: “The operation was a success as no infections or inflammations occurred in the blood stream.”
It is a relatively small operation, the company said, with a surgeon and “four surgical assistants” involved.
Image copyright Xinhua Image caption Some Chinese people cannot find a suitable donor, and research is ongoing to find alternative organs
There have been five pig kidney transplants, according to the company.
Mr Cao also said his daughter had developed medical problems after being left in bad health following an accident a few years ago.
The operation was prompted by a new rule in the central province of Henan, the company said, which came into effect on 6 September.
This means hospitals there can only transfer patients from one year of age to another year of age for kidney transplants or liver transplants – so anyone who has been receiving transplants for more than 12 months must be given a choice to undergo the new operation.
There are also cases of patients being moved from one hospital to another for transplants because of issues like infection or foreign contamination.
That is where pig kidneys could become useful, as well as liver, heart and other organ transplants, according to the company.
Professor Xiang Li, director of liver surgery at the Chinese Medical University and chairman of the Beihang Transplant Centre in Beijing, told Xinhua his institute was also working on a project in the same vein, alongside the Central China University of Materials Science and Technology.
The World Health Organization supports the new pig liver transplant, and acknowledged that their use could be complementary to different transplants.
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