UAB awarded $19.5 million grant for new xenotransplantation program

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Transplant Institutehas been awarded a five-year, $19.5 million grant from biotechnology magnate United Therapeutics Corporation to launch a pioneering UAB Xenotransplantation Program that both groups hope will lead to genetically modified kidney transplants from pig models to humans by 2021.


“More than 8,000 people either died waiting for a kidney transplant or became too sick to receive a kidney transplant in 2014,” said Selwyn Vickers, M.D., senior vice president and dean of UAB’s School of Medicine. “As a research and medical community, we have to do more to try and help those suffering. This very generous gift from United Therapeutics will enable us to establish a unique research arm for the School of Medicine that gives us the chance to be the first in the world to transplant genetically engineered kidneys from nonhuman organs into human recipients within the next five years. This opportunity further defines our school and UAB Medicine as an outstanding destination for education, clinical care and research — all with the ultimate goal of securing the top medical and scientific talent in the country and becoming the preferred destination for patients in Alabama and across the country who need care.”

Xenotransplantation is any procedure that involves the transplantation, implantation or infusion into a human recipient of either live cells, tissues or organs from a nonhuman animal source or human body fluids, cells, tissues or organs that have had ex vivocontact with live nonhuman animal cells, tissues or organs, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Continue reading
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