Genetically modified Pig Heart successfully transplanted in a Human for the first time in history
For the first time in human history, US surgeons have successfully done the of a genetically modified pig’s heart into a 57-year-old man.
This brings hope that we could find a solution to solve the shortage of organs.
According to the University of Maryland Medical School, this historic turning point in medical science was taking place on Friday.
This shows that animal organ transplantation in a huge population is on the horizon.
According to some official figures, around 110,000 Americans are now waiting for an organ transplant.
An estimated 6,000 patients die every year due to organ shortages.
To solve the problem, doctors have been interested in xenotransplantation, a procedure that involves the transplantation of organs from a nonhuman species to a human body.
Pigs have been considered an enthralling source of major transplants because of their organ similarities to humans.
Nowadays, pig heart valves are often used in humans, and pigskin is often grafted onto burn victims.
They are ideal donors due to their size, rapid growth, and large litters, as well as the fact they are already being raised as food sources.
Why this pig-heart transplant was necessary
The patient, David Bennett, had been considered ineligible for the human-to-human transplant.
For Bennett, cross-species transplantation was his last option. That’s why the surgeons decided to do the xenotransplantation to save the patient.
Now, the patient is recovering and doctors are carefully monitoring to analyze how the new organ performs on Bennett’s body.
“It was either die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice,”
said David Bennett.
” I look forward to getting out of bed after I recover,” added Bennett.
For the past several months, he has been bedridden on a heart-lung bypass machine.
By taking Bennett’s situation seriously, The Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency authorization for the surgery on December 31.
“This was a breakthrough surgery and brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis,” said Bartley Griffith, the surgeon who transplanted the pig heart.
“We are proceeding cautiously, but we are also optimistic that this first-in-the-world surgery will provide an important new option for patients in the future.”
Bennett’s heart donor pig belonged to a group of animals that had undergone genetic editing procedures.
Three genes were removed from the donor pig that causes human immune systems to reject pig organs, and one gene was taken out to prevent excessive pig heart tissue growth. Six human genes responsible for immune acceptance were inserted.
A total of 10 unique gene edits was performed by a Virginia-based biotech company called Revivicor, which also supplied the pig used in a breakthrough kidney transplant on brain dead patients in New York in October.
Revivicor was the same supplier of a pig used in a kidney transplant on brain-dead patients in New York in October.
“The successful procedure provided valuable information to help the medical community improve this potentially life-saving method in future patients,” said Dr. Muhammad Mohiuddin, who co-founded Maryland University’s cardiac xenotransplantation program.
“The FDA used our data and data on the experimental pig to authorize the transplant in an end-stage heart disease patient who had no other treatment options,” he said.
“If this works, there will be an endless supply of these organs for patients who are suffering,” he said.
After the successful transplantation, Bennett received an experimental anti-rejection drug made by Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals based in Lexington, Mass.
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