Saturday, January 22

For the first time, surgeons have successfully transplanted a pig’s heart into a human

A world first. American surgeons have successfully transplanted a heart from a genetically modified pig into a patient.

The operation was performed last Friday on a 57-year-old patient with heart disease, said the University of Maryland School of Medicine, indicating that the man is doing well.

The latter had been deemed ineligible for a traditional heart transplant in several centers. “It was either die or this transplant. I want to live ”, he confided, quoted in a statement of the Faculty of Medicine. While the procedure was experimental, the FDA granted emergency clearance on New Year’s Eve.

This transplant allows to show for the first time that the heart of an animal can continue to function without immediate rejection when it is transplanted to a human, welcomed the institution.

This transplant could also respond to the organ shortage, which is affecting the whole world. “There are simply not enough donor human hearts available to meet the long list of potential recipients,” said Professor Bartley P. Griffith, who performed this “revolutionary surgery”.

Xenografts could save thousands of lives, but the procedures carry many risks, including fatal rejection. In this specific case, the team is using a new anti-rejection treatment, which is still experimental.

The pig from which the heart comes has been genetically modified to no longer produce a type of sugar normally present in all pig cells and which causes immediate rejection of the organ.

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