Research efforts have shed light on the immunological obstacles to long-term survival of pig organs transplanted into primates and allowed the identification of targets for specific immune intervention. Accordingly, the development of genetically engineered animals has overcome the hyperacute rejection barrier, with acute humoral xenograft rejection (AHXR) currently remaining the most important immunological obstacle. At this stage, a better control of the elicited anti-pig humoral immune response and avoidance of coagulation disorders are the two primary research fronts being pursued in order to overcome AHXR. Nonetheless, it is encouraging that porcine xenografts can sustain the life of non-human primates for several months. Proactive research aimed at the development of a safer organ source is also underway. It is anticipated that ongoing research in several fields, including accommodation, tolerance, immune suppression and genetic engineering, will result in further improvements in non-human primate survival. However, until convincing efficacy data and a more favourable risk/benefit ratio can be established in relevant animal models, progression to the clinic should not be viewed as an option.