Are we ready for pig-to-human clinical xenotransplantation trials?


  • Laichun Zhang Shandong Normal University, Jinan, People’s Republic of China
  • Lijun Ling University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, United States


The invention and widely use of organ allotransplantation provides effective treatment of some originally fetal diseases such as liver/kidney failure and has saved million of lives around the globe. However, the scarcity of human organs has caused many patients, who could have been treated, to die while waiting for suitable organs around the world. Pig-to human xenotransplantation provides a potential solution to solve this tough problem. Pig organs have been considered as major sources of xenotransplantation because of the sufficient number of donors, the sizes of organs, and physiologically structural similarities. However, xenotransplantation also has some problems, such as the possibility of spreading animal diseases to human, the interspecies immunological barrier, organs of animal origin challenging human nature, and potential informed consent issues. This article will discuss these potential issues and to see whether it is the suitable time to conduct clinical xenotransplantation trials in humans.


pig-to-human, xenotransplantation, zoonotic diseases, immunological barriers, psychological issues, informed consent