Mike Curtis


2 minute read

It sounds like science fiction. But Mike Curtis’ company eGenesis uses CRISPR to edit pigs’ genes in order to give them organs that are less porcine and more human, making them safer to transplant into people. In March, the first patient received a kidney from one of these pigs and appears to be doing well. The hope is that these modified pig parts might safely fill the desperate human need for more organs.

Based on the fact that the patient and his kidney remain healthy a month after his transplant, “we’re feeling good about those edits; nothing we have seen so far suggests that we got it wrong,” says Curtis, who is president and CEO of eGenesis.

As a result, Curtis plans to petition the FDA to consider allowing the next transplant in a few months, rather than waiting the six months he had originally planned. “We have so many patients now calling us,” he says. He is also working with other doctors to achieve similar milestones with pig livers and hearts this year. In the case of the pig hearts, the company is collaborating with pediatric surgeons to help children who are born with heart disease and need transplants but often die before receiving them; a trial is in the works.The first success with the pig kidney, says Curtis, has “energized” so many people who now see a range of potentially life-saving opportunities for porcine organs.

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