Transplantation of a genetically modified pig heart in a human body...

January 11 2022, 02:43 GMTUpdated 1 hour ago

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For the first time, a pig’s heart was transplanted into a human body

Doctors in the United States announced the success of the transplantation of a genetically modified pig heart in a human body, in an operation that is the first of its kind.

Doctors say David Bennett, 57, is doing well three days after the seven-hour trial in Baltimore.

The transplant was the last hope to save Bennett’s life, although it is not yet clear what his chances of long-term survival are.

“I either die or I have this transplant,” Bennett said the day before the surgery.

“I know it may or may not succeed, but it is my last option,” he added.

Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center obtained a special exemption from the medical authority supervising the implementation of the procedure, on the basis that Bennett – who suffers from a terminal heart disease – would have died without the operation.

Bennett was not qualified to perform a human transplant, a decision doctors often make when a patient is in very poor health.

Surgeons during the procedure

picture released, University of Maryland School of Medicine/Reuters

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Surgeons during the procedure

The French news agency reported that the pig used in the transplant was genetically modified to exclude several genes that could have led to Bennett’s body rejecting the new organ.

For the medical team who performed it, the operation is the culmination of years of research and could change lives around the world.

Surgeon Bartley Griffiths said the surgery would bring the world “one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis”.

Currently, 17 people die every day in the United States while waiting for a transplant, with more than 100,000 people on the waiting list.

Dr. Kristen Lau, chief of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, was in the operating room during the surgery.

She told the BBC: “He’s at a higher risk because we need more immunosuppression, which is a little different than what we normally do in a human-to-human transplant. But what he’s going to be like from now on, because we haven’t had this procedure before, so We really don’t know.”

“People die all the time waiting for their organs to arrive. If we can use genetically modified pig organs, they will never have to wait, they can get the organ they need,” she added.

“We won’t have to travel across the country at night to retrieve organs for placement in recipients,” she said.

Doctors have been looking at the possibility of using animal organs in so-called organ transplants to meet demand, and the use of pig heart valves is already common.

In October 2021, surgeons in New York announced that they had succeeded in transplanting a pig’s kidney into a human body. The process at that time was the most advanced experiment in this field so far.

The recipient on that occasion was brain dead, and there was no hope of his recovery.

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For the first time.. the success of a pig kidney transplant in a human body

A glimmer of hope and enormous dangers

Analysis by Michelle Roberts, Health Editor

This is a watershed moment that offers hope for a solution to the chronic shortage of human donor organs. But there is still a long way to go to see if giving people animal organs is the way forward.

Pig hearts are anatomically similar to human hearts, but they are not identical for known reasons, so they are not perfect, compared to a human donor heart. But it is possible to plug and play.

The biggest problem is member rejection. These pigs are raised in such a way that they lack the genes that can cause rejection, are cloned with certain genes “eliminated” and bred until they reach an age when their organs are large enough to obtain them for transplant.

And it’s too early to tell how Bennett will act with a pig’s heart.

His doctors were clear when they explained to him that the surgery could be a gamble, that the stakes are huge, but the potential rewards are also great.

Muhammad Mohiuddin

picture released, University of Maryland

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Surgeon Mohamed Mohieldin of the University of Maryland team describes the operation as a ‘big transformation’

Bennett hopes the transplant will allow him to continue his life. He was bedridden for six weeks prior to surgery, and attached to a machine that kept him alive after he was diagnosed with heart disease.

“I look forward to getting out of bed after I recover,” he said last week.

Doctors reported on Monday that Bennett, while being carefully monitored, was breathing on his own.

But what exactly will happen next is not clear.

Griffiths said they tread carefully and carefully monitor Bennett, while his son David Bennett Jr. told the Associated Press that the family was “ignorant of everything at that point”.

But he added, “He realizes the scale of what has happened and he really understands its importance.”

“We’ve never had this operation on a human being before, and I think we’ve given him a better option than he would have if he had continued treatment,” Griffiths said. “But whether he will live for a day, or a week, or a month, or a year, I don’t know.” ”

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