Vita Gazette

News from Italy

A human had a pig’s heart transplanted

Vita gazette – A 57-year-old with heart disease was transplanted with a brand new heart grown in a genetically engineered pig. it is an absolute novelty in the medical field that could change the life prospects of hundreds of thousands of patients who need organ transplants …

University of Maryland School of Medicine Faculty Scientists and Clinicians Perform Historic First Successful Transplant of Porcine Heart into Adult Human with End-Stage Heart Disease. A pig heart was transplanted into a human being with a method applied for the first time in the world. The condition of 57-year-old David Bennett, whose genetically modified heart was transplanted on Friday in a 9-hour operation, is going well. Bennett was a patient who needed an emergency heart transplant. But he had cardiac arrest. The heartbeat was also irregular. These problems did not allow for human organ transplantation. He was desperate. He wasn’t listening to his doctors, he wasn’t using his medications. Dr. Bartley Griffith of the University of Maryland and his team intervened in this phase. They decided to try an unprecedented method of saving Bennett.

First they took a pig’s heart and added 6 human genomes to this heart. So they changed the genetic makeup of the pig’s heart. They took the sugar that was in the heart. Finally, they extracted 4 pig genes that make the heart grow. Thus, the body’s rate of rejection of the heart was reduced. Finally, on Friday – January 7 – in a 9-hour operation, they transplanted a genetically modified pig heart to Bennett. It was announced that David Bennett, who could breathe with the help of a ventilator before the operation, is now breathing on his own, but is still connected to the artificial lung device to help pump blood around the body.

The operation in Maryland has a vague precedent because in recent months some surgeons in New York transplanted a kidney from a genetically modified pig into a brain dead person. Indeed, scientists have been working on gene editing technologies and xenografts, transplants of organs and cells from a species other than humans, for years.

In the 1960s, chimpanzee kidneys were transplanted into some patients, but the luckiest patient lived for 9 months. In 1983, a baboon heart was transplanted into a child, renamed Baby Fae, but he only lived for twenty days.

Pigs offer the advantage of being easy to rear and reach the right size to be transplanted into a human body in just six months.

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