First Fetus-to-Fetus Transplant Procedure in Rats

April 30, 2024

In Japan, surgeons have achieved a milestone by conducting a groundbreaking procedure: they transplanted kidney tissue from one rat fetus to another while the recipient was still in its mother's womb. Takashi Yokoo, the lead researcher at Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo, describes this surgery as the initial stride towards the eventual goal of transplanting fetal pig kidneys into human fetuses with kidney defects.

Yokoo emphasizes the pioneering nature of their project, noting that while previous studies involved injecting cells and amniotic fluid into fetuses, this marks the first instance of actual organ and tissue transplants within the womb. The rationale behind these early transplants is to enable the organ to grow and mature alongside the fetus, potentially minimizing the risk of rejection upon birth.