A 58-year-old patient this week became the second person in the world to be transplanted with a genetically modified pig heart, the latest example of a particularly active area of research in recent years.
In 2022, such surgery was performed for the first time at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the US.
The patient at the time, David Bennett, died two months after the procedure.Due to many factors including his poor health» before the transplant, the university wrote in a press release Friday.
Transplanting animal organs into humans, known as xenografts, could provide a solution to the chronic shortage of organ donors. More than 100,000 Americans are currently on the transplant waiting list.
The new action took place on September 20. Lawrence Fawcett, an ex-retired soldier, suffered from a serious heart condition that almost certainly destroyed him. He was declared ineligible for a human heart transplant, so this solution was represented to him.”Only option”, the press release said.
“At least now I have hope and I have a chance“, according to the same source, he announced before the intervention.
“We have no expectations other than to spend more time together“, said his wife. “It can be as simple as sitting on the front porch and having coffee together.»
Lawrence Fawcett is now breathing on his own, and his new heart is working well without assistance, doctors said.
He is taking immunosuppressive treatments, as well as “A new antibody therapy”, to avoid rejection.
Xenografts are a challenge because the recipient’s immune system tends to attack the foreign organ. That is why pigs are genetically modified to reduce this risk.
Recently, kidney transplants from genetically modified pigs have also been performed in brain-dead patients.
The Transplant Institute at NYU Langone Hospital in New York announced this month that it had successfully transplanted a pig kidney into a deceased person for two months, a feat.
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