- The university emphasizes that the surgery performed on Friday has proven that the animal heart can continue to function in humans without immediate rejection.
- David Bennett, 57, who received the pig heart, was previously found unfit for human heart transplant surgery.
- He is now being closely monitored by doctors and is still being fitted with an artificial heart-lung machine that supports his new organ.
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– Either death or this transplant surgery. I want to live. I know this is a very strange case, but this is my last chance – said a Maryland resident the day before the operation.
Bennett, who has been bedridden for the past few months, attaches himself to the machine that keeps him alive, saying, “I can not wait to get out of bed once I’ve recovered.
“It’s a major surgical breakthrough and brings us one step closer to solving the problem of organ failure,” commented Bartley Griffith, who performed the transplant.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the green light to surgery on the last day of last year.
The AP recalls that more than 3,800 heart transplants were performed in the United States last year, a record number, but the biggest problem is the shortage of human organ transplants. “If it works, there will be an endless supply of these organs to patients in need,” said Dr. Mohamed Mohidin, director of science at the University of Maryland Alternative Program.
The doctors explained that the pig that formed the heart was genetically modified so that it does not produce the sugar commonly found in all the cells of these animals and is immediately rejected by the organ by humans.
‘This is the culmination of more complex research to refine the technique in animals that have been alive for more than nine months. The FDA used our data and the data of an experimental pig to authorize transplant surgery for a patient with end-stage heart disease who had no other treatment options, said Dr. Mohammed M. Mohideen said.
Baby Fay’s case
The first genetic modification efforts were made in the 1980s, but were largely abandoned after the high-profile case of Stephanie Faye Fugler (also known as Baby Fay) at the University of Loma Linda in California. Baboon underwent heart transplant surgery for a baby born with a dangerous heart defect and died within a month of surgery due to rejection of a foreign organ by the immune system. However, pig heart valves have been used successfully for many years to replace valves in humans.
Nearly 110,000 Americans are currently on the waiting list for organ transplant surgery, and more than 6,000 are on the waiting list. Individuals in need of transplant surgery die each year.
:Rodło: PAP, University of Maryland School of Medicine
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