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The role of industry in advancing xenotransplantation

Shin, Jordan T.; Rothblatt, Martine A.; Lorber, Marc I.

Current Opinion in Organ Transplantation: October 2019 - Volume 24 - Issue 5 - p 517–521
doi: 10.1097/MOT.0000000000000685
XENOTRANSPLANTATION: Edited by Parsia A Vagefi

Purpose of review Xenotransplantation offers the opportunity to alleviate the imbalance between the demand of patients with end stage organ failure and the supply of organs available for transplantation but remains aspirational. This review highlights how collaboration between academia and industry are essential for success.

Recent findings The science of xenotransplantation has accelerated in recent years with key discoveries in genetic engineering, enabling disruption of genes facilitating rejection, and transgenic expression of desired human genes. Combined with similar progress directed toward induction of transplant tolerance, the stage has been set for meaningful progress. These advances are reviewed in detail elsewhere in this volume and argue that the breakthroughs needed to deliver substantial cross-species organ survival have largely been achieved, heralding a liminal stage of human xenotransplantation. However, xenotransplantation as a meaningful therapy for medically refractory end organ failure will not be realized through scientific innovation alone. The advent of broadly available, therapeutic xenogeneic tissues requires extensive development and regulatory expertise; the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry can provide extensive resources and expertise in those essential areas.

Summary Successful delivery of xenotransplantation as an available therapy for curing end stage organ failure is best accomplished through partnership and collaboration between academia and industry.

Lung Biotechnology, PBC, United Therapeutics Corporation, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

Correspondence to Marc I. Lorber, MD, Sr. Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Lung Biotechnology, PBC, United Therapeutics Corporation, 1040 Spring Street, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA. Tel: +1 301 608 9292; e-mail:

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