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Science & Technology

Pig heart transplant trial in baboons a success

December 7, 2018 | Comment icon 9 comments



If you needed a heart transplant, would you accept one from a pig ? Image Credit: PD - Steven Lek
Scientists have succeeded in transplanting pig hearts in to baboons in a groundbreaking new experiment.
With thousands of people on the organ transplant list dying each year due to a lack of donors, scientists have long striven to find a way to produce replacement human organs on demand.

Now a new trial carried out at the University of Munich in Germany has demonstrated the potential for the organs of farm animals - and in particular pigs - to be used as effective alternatives.

For the trial, scientists succeeded in transplanting pig hearts in to four baboons. The animals lead relatively normal, healthy lives for up to six months before needing to be put down.
Scientists have long considered the possibility of using pigs as donors for human transplant because pig organs are remarkably similar to our own. While genetic tinkering and a significant amount of immunosuppressants would be needed to make it work - in theory it should be possible.

The recent success with the baboons has further cemented the idea as a viable concept.

"[This] is an extraordinary achievement," said surgeon Muhammad Mohiuddin of the Cardiac Xenotransplantation Program at the University of Maryland.

"You cannot stress this more. The next step from here is clinical transplantation [in people]."

Source: Scientific American | Comments (9)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by third_eye 3 years ago
Hey Elmer ... ~ [00.00:08] ~
Comment icon #2 Posted by qxcontinuum 3 years ago
Poor animals. How long should they suffer for us ? :(
Comment icon #3 Posted by Trenix 3 years ago
This is not the future, just unnecessary suffering for animals. Better off engineering devices that will replace organs.
Comment icon #4 Posted by spartan max2 3 years ago
In medical science you have to use animals to test stuff, the only alternative is to use untested things on humans. A neccesary evil
Comment icon #5 Posted by Trenix 3 years ago
Completely false. Animals and humans react differently, even as stated by this article. Use simulations and stem cells, not animals and people.
Comment icon #6 Posted by spartan max2 3 years ago
That is funny, I'm sure the scientist just use animal test subjects to torture them, they can't possible be learning any useful information from it lol. Baboons are one of the most similar animals to us, so they may not be exactly the same but it still helps in the process. Science use animal subjects before human subjects for safety reasons. You have to see if it is safe and successful on a animal before you are allowed to experiment it on a human, typically. Our technique and technology with simulations and stem cells are just not advanced enough yet to replace animal experiments. The vast m... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Jon the frog 3 years ago
So they survived six months... poor baboons. Why they cannot do these experiments on child rapist instead?
Comment icon #8 Posted by Trenix 3 years ago
I never said there was no benefit or that no information obtained was useful. What I'm saying that you don't NEED animals to be your test subjects, at least not anymore. Technology is moving forward and we should look into better and cheaper alternatives, not continue outdated, expensive, and immoral practices. Look up In Vitro testing, computer modeling, and micro-dosing as examples. Trump also signed the "right-to-try" legislation so patients can try experimental drugs if they want. Move forward, not backwards.
Comment icon #9 Posted by GS1981 3 years ago
Why do these tests on animals that are not really close to us genetically? yes they are in the order of primates but they are about as similar to us as Hippos are to Killer Whales (maybe a exaggeration and we are a bit closer because of the volume of different primates, and we are essentially on a closer branchbut its still pretty far). I mean if they were unethically to do this to a animal for human benefitssurely one of the great apes ie: Chimapnzees would have been a better option, but even then its wrong.


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