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Winning Solution: Renal Xenograft Phase 2: Solving the Donor Kidney Shortage

The development of xenotransplantation where pig kidneys are used as replacement organs in people

Matt Tector, MD, Makana Therapeutics, Inc.

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KidneyX Competition:

Artificial Kidney Prize, Phase 2: Track One

Matt Tector, MD

About the Solution

Makana Therapeutics seeks to help patients suffering from kidney failure by providing healthy replacement kidneys. Though human-to-human kidney transplantation has been a highly successful therapy for decades, the number of patients in need far surpasses the availability of donor kidneys. Makana seeks to eliminate this gap by pursuing the development of xenotransplantation where pig kidneys are used as replacement organs in people. Though enabling the production of sufficient numbers of replacement organs, xenotransplantation faces a key barrier before it can be implemented clinically. Every human has anti-pig antibodies which rapidly destroy the transplanted organ. Makana has overcome this barrier by developing genetically modified pigs whose tissues no longer express targets of human antibodies. After decades of work, we are now on the verge of testing this technology in human clinical trials.

About the Winner

Matt Tector, PhD is the chief scientific officer of Makana Therapeutics, a company focused on the development and implementation of xenotransplantation as an option for patients suffering from kidney failure. In pursuit of this goal, Dr. Tector has been part of a multifaceted team studying the compatibility of genetically engineered pig tissues with human beings for over a decade.

He received his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh, studying the cell and molecular biology of molecules that are key to immunity organ transplantation. He received postdoctoral training at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Cancer Center and Max-Planck Institutes.