Scientific breakthrough: A pig’s heart was first implanted in a terminally ill patient

Scientific breakthrough: A pig’s heart was first implanted in a human body, it was reported tonight (Monday through Tuesday) in the U.S. The operation was performed on 57-year-old David Bennett of Merlind, who suffered from a terminal illness and the pig’s heart was “the only available option.”

A University of Maryland medical report states that Bennett is considered unfit for a conventional heart transplant or artificial heart pump after reviews of his medical records. “It was either to die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice,” Bennett said before the surgery.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency clearance for surgery on Dec. 31. For the success of the surgery, three genes responsible for the rejection of pig organs by the human immune system were removed from the donor pig, and one gene was removed to prevent overgrowth of pig heart tissue. Six human genes responsible for immune reception have been introduced.

Bennett’s doctors will have to follow him for days to weeks to see if the transplant works to provide life-saving benefits. He will be on the lookout for immune system problems or other complications.

“There are simply not enough human hearts available for donors to meet the long list of potential recipients,” surgeon Dr. Bartley F. Griffith said in a statement.

Art Kaplan, a professor of bioethics at New York University, said he was a little apprehensive when he heard the news about Bennett’s transplant. “I hope they have the data to back up this experience now, based on studies in their animals,” he said. He said the United States has a “terrible” shortage of organs for transplants and he believes animal parts engineering is the answer.

By Editor

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