The reinvention of xenotransplantation
The clinical success of organ transplantation has led to a disparity in which demand greatly outweighs supply, resulting in persistent transplant candidate waitlist mortality. As a community, we have sought to address the organ shortage through expansion of what is considered a suitable deceased donor (i.e., donation after cardiac death donors, expanded criteria donors), increased advocacy for the use of living donors, and advances in the use of technologies such as machine perfusion to enhance organ assessment, preservation, and repair. However, these avenues have – in large part – been unable to keep up with the pace of candidates being added to the waitlist. There remains a severe and urgent need for an alternative source of organs that would allow for rapid expansion of the donor pool, and xenotransplantation is the innovative solution which holds the most immediate promise in fulfilling this need.