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Science & Technology

Man receives genetically-modified pig heart in transplant breakthrough

January 11, 2022 | Comment icon 10 comments

Could genetically-modified pig organs be the answer to organ shortages ? Image Credit: sxc.hu
The 57-year-old became the first person ever to undergo the transplant.
David Bennett, who has terminal heart disease, underwent the procedure at the University of Maryland Medical Center this week after doctors were granted a special dispensation to carry out the transplant on the basis that he would have died without it.

"It was either die or do this transplant," he said beforehand.

"I know it's a shot in the dark, but it's my last choice."

The transplant was unique in that it used the heart from a pig that had been genetically modified to disable certain genes that would have seen it rejected by the recipient.

Bennett was ineligible for a human heart transplant because of his ill-health.
Incredibly, the procedure went well and he is now recovering in hospital with his new heart.

The success is particularly important because if it is possible to use pig organs in humans, it could mean that the lives of thousands of patients on the organ waiting list could be saved.

As things stand, however, the long-term outlook for Bennett remains uncertain.

"He's at more of a risk because we require more immunosuppression, slightly different than we would normally do in a human-to-human transplant," said Dr Christine Lau. "How well the patient does from now is, you know, it's never been done before so we really don't know."

"People die all the time on the waiting list, waiting for organs. If we could use genetically engineered pig organs they'd never have to wait, they could basically get an organ as they needed it."

Source: BBC News | Comments (10)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by susieice 8 days ago
Doctors say the man is recovering well. The news here tonight said he is being monitored closely for an sign of rejection. Rejection can also occur when using human organs. I hope this all proves out well. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/10/health/heart-transplant-pig-bennett.html https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/surgeons-perform-first-successful-transplant-pig-heart-human-patient-rcna11687
Comment icon #2 Posted by thedutchiedutch 8 days ago
Yes. I hope it turns out well. So far so good. It will open new doors for sure
Comment icon #3 Posted by and then 7 days ago
It sounds like the next step along the line for genetically creating usable organs for transplant.  We've been using Porcine heart valves  as replacements in human hearts, for years now, with limited success. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22877802/
Comment icon #4 Posted by Tatetopa 7 days ago
My mom had a valve replacement like that at 82 years old.  She lived to be nearly 86.  Four years we would not have had with her otherwise.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Jon the frog 7 days ago
Interesting, hoping that it will give him some more years and in any case, he give that time to science for future application.
Comment icon #6 Posted by llegendary 5 days ago
Notice how they use pig hearts instead of monkey hearts.
Comment icon #7 Posted by fred_mc 5 days ago
This makes me think of articles I've read about certain receivers of hearts having gained personality traits from the heart donor, something I speculate could have something to do with that the heart actually has a kind of "brain"/neurons, something that is not that commonly known. Wonder how that works when you get a heart from a pig.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Still Waters 4 days ago
Man Who Had Pig Heart Transplant Has Criminal Record After Stabbing Man Seven Times The man who received the world’s first pig-to-human heart transplant has a criminal record after stabbing a man seven times in the 1980s, according to the Washington Post.  Since the news of the successful transplant, the sister of a man Bennett was convicted of stabbing in 1988 had come forward to criticise the transplant, saying her brother was never given the second chance Bennett received.  https://www.ladbible.com/news/man-who-had-pig-heart-transplant-has-criminal-record-20220114 https://www.washingtonpost... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by spartan max2 4 days ago
Comment icon #10 Posted by godnodog 4 days ago
So?  And you mean chimps?

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