The heart of the genetically modified pig was transplanted by American doctors to the patient to save his life. The New York Times (NYT) and the AP reported on the highly experimental operation, which the doctors performed on Friday at the University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. The hospital said three days after the operation that the patient was feeling well.
Although it is too early to talk about the success of the operation, according to the AP, it is a step forward in the efforts to one day use animal organs for life-saving transplants. According to doctors, the operation proved that the heart of a genetically modified pig can function in the human body without being immediately rejected by the body. The groundbreaking NYT procedure gives hope to hundreds of thousands of patients with failing organs.
Patient, fifty-five years old David Bennett, he knew there was no guarantee that the experiment would work. His son told the AP that his father was dying, unfit for a human heart transplant and had no choice. “It’s either going to die or undergoing this transplant. I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last chance, “Bennett said the day before the operation, according to a statement given to the media by the hospital.
The media recalls that there is a huge shortage of donated human organs suitable for transplantation, leading scientists to find out how animal organs can be used instead of human ones. More than 3,800 heart transplants were performed in the United States last year, a record number, according to UNOS, which oversees the US transplant system.
“If it works, there will be endless supplies of these organs for suffering patients,” said Muhammad Mohiuddin, the scientific director of the university’s human organ transplant program. Previous attempts at similar transmissions have failed. Mostly because patients’ bodies quickly rejected animal tissue. For example, in 1984, Stephanie Fae Beauclair, a girl with severe heart disease, survived 21 days after a monkey heart transplant, the AP reminded.
This time, Maryland surgeons used a genetically modified pig’s heart to remove the sugar from its cells, which is responsible for the body’s rapid rejection of the organ.
“I think it can be described as a turning point,” said David Klassen, chief physician at UNOS, about the transplant in Maryland. Nevertheless, Klassen warns that this is only the first preliminary step to examine whether animal organ transplants could finally work.
The office supervising animal organ transplant experiments authorized the operation based on the fact that the patient in a life-threatening state had no choice.
Last September, researchers in New York conducted an experiment that suggested that genetically modified pigs could be a promise for transplants: doctors temporarily attached a pig’s kidney to a dead human body and watched it begin to function.Read also In Italy, they implanted artificial hearts for the first time outside of clinical studies
A transplant in Maryland takes the experiment to the next level, said Dr. Robert Montgomery, who led the kidney experiment. He described the operation as a remarkable breakthrough. “As a recipient of a heart transplant, because I am suffering from a genetic heart disorder, I am excited about this report and the hope it gives my family and other patients,” he said.
It will be crucial to share the data from this transplant before opening up to other patients, said researcher Karen Maschke, who is helping to develop ethical and policy recommendations for the first clinical trials. “It would not be appropriate to rush organ-to-human organ transplants without this information,” she added.Read also The artificial heart is still an experiment with an uncertain outcome
“He’s really aware of the size and importance of what happened,” David Bennett Jr. said of his father. “He could not live, he could last a day or a few days. Now, at this moment, we are unknown, “he added.
Source: Pravda – Veda a technika by vat.pravda.sk.
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