A man from the United States has become the world’s first human to get a heart transplant from a genetically engineered pig. Doctors say David Bennett, 57, is doing well three days after the seven-hour experimental treatment in Baltimore.
Mr Bennett’s life was thought to be on the verge of being saved by the transplant, albeit it is unclear how long he will live.
Mr Bennett described the day before the procedure, “It was either die or do this transplant,” “I know it’s a long shot,” he said, “but it’s my last resort.”
The US medical authority granted a special exemption to doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center to carry out the treatment on the grounds that Mr Bennett, who has terminal heart illness, would have perished otherwise.
He had been ruled ineligible for a human transplant, a choice that doctors frequently make when a patient is in critical condition.
According to the AFP news agency, the pig used in the transplant had been genetically edited to knock off multiple genes that would have caused the organ to be rejected by Mr Bennett’s body. The transplant is the conclusion of years of research for the medical team who performed it, and it has the potential to impact lives all across the world.
The procedure, according to surgeon Bartley Griffith, will bring the world “one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis” In the United States, 17 individuals die every day while waiting for a transplant, with over 100,000 people on the waiting list. During the procedure, Dr. Christine Lau, chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, was present.
“He’s at a higher risk because we need to use more immunosuppression, which is different from what we’d do in a human-to-human transplant.”
“People die all the time while waiting for organs on the waiting list.” They’d never have to wait if we could use genetically altered pig organs; they’d be able to acquire an organ whenever they needed it.” Plus, we wouldn’t have to travel across the nation at night to get organs for transplantation,” she said.
Animal organs for so-called xenotransplantation have long been regarded as a way to satisfy demand, and pig heart valves are now widely used.
Mr Bennett, on the other hand, is optimistic that his transplant will let him to live a normal life. He was bedridden for six weeks before to the operation and was kept alive by a machine after being diagnosed with fatal heart illness.
He remarked last week, “I look forward to getting out of bed after I recover,”
Mr Bennett was said to be breathing on his own on Monday although being closely watched. But it’s uncertain what will happen next.
Mr Griffith stated that they were going slowly and closely watching Mr Bennett, while his son David Bennett Jr told the Associated Press that the family was “in the unknown at this point”